Our team holds a lot of meetings at one of Susanna Foo’s restaurants in Philadelphia. We love the food. And we love the fact that we’ve gotten acquainted with Susanna over time. She’s a celebrity chef, and being around her is a cool experience. One day we invited her to sit down with us. We told her we wanted to learn her leadership insights. Modestly, she insisted she didn’t do anything in terms of leadership that is unique or worth talking about.

“Okay, just tell us your story,” we said. “How did you get in the restaurant business?”

She told us that she was born in China and grew up in Taiwan, where her father was a military man—a lieutenant general—and he instilled military discipline at home. The family ...

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