Reviewers say Jill Wright and her team at Executive Shine have created the “best,” “most amazing,” “awesome” shoeshine experience anywhere. She’s built this over three decades with an organization that delivers superior results, connects human-to-human and makes the entire experience enjoyable for all. Three things to learn from her are 1) own the vision and values, 2) do the big things yourself that only you can do right and 3) inspire and enable others to do the rest.

Own the vision and values – Wright things

Wright’s original vision was to transform the industry with “Shoeshine service that sets the quality standard for the industry as professionals serving professionals.” When she started, service was about “What I think you want.” “Now it’s about honoring who’s in front of me” by giving that person what they actually want now. So Wright has had to figure out “How to create the type of environment where people feel safe to talk.”

Wright and her team work with amazing people — in airports, generally rushing from or to high stress situations. Her customers don’t need stressful conversations. Instead, she and her team try to “Shift (customers’) focus and create a great experience for the few minutes” they are in the shoeshine chair. They deliver superior results and shoe therapy” TM leading to a shine on their shoes and a good feeling and attitude shift that lasts.


Do the big things yourself that only you can do right

Most people can manage five priorities. Senior executives do best when their priority list has no more than three things on it. CEOs should focus on one and maybe two things. This is why the art of delegating is so important. In addition to owning the vision and values, Wright handles contract acquisition, implementation and execution including reporting and record keeping for her Denver and Charlotte airport sites. She also oversees customer service, sales and communication training to drive the right culture  the only sustainable advantage.


Inspire and enable others

Wright talks about “Focusing on what’s possible to dramatically impact performance”. She inspires others by “Seeing people’s potential and then reflecting that back to them.” She went on to tell me it’s just like shoes. “You’ve got to see beyond the dirt.”

Jonathan stuttered badly 17 years ago when Wright first met him. Now he manages her Denver business. Getnet’s journey from barefoot in Ethiopia to managing Wright’s Charlotte business is inspiring enough to warrant its own article in the Charlotte Observer.

What’s possible for Wright and her team is delivering superior performance, entertaining and connecting human to human. The team’s passion for delivering superior performance has merged with the value of connecting to create an amazingly entertaining and rewarding experience for all as staff members take customers through their 12-step process.

There are many extensive steps to this unique shoeshine process. However, the magic is not only in the steps, it’s in the personal connection. Wright’s leadership has elevated the human-to-human experience to a “Soul to Sole” TM experience.

Blow Torch

Blow Torch – George Bradt

The boots pictured at the article top are mine and “before” were so dried out and dirty from 10 years of use and neglect that I was perfectly positioned for Zig Ziglar’s Shoe Shine Shame Close. The Executive Shine people in the Charlotte Airport promised to make them look like new. They delivered, made it enjoyable, and made a connection.

Not a bad framework for leading leaders in a service organization: 1) Deliver superior results for your customers; 2) Connect “Soul to Sole”; 3) Make the experience enjoyable for all involved.