What Chick-fil-A’s Company Culture Teaches About Leadership

Does a culture of servant leadership exist within your organization?

Summary
Transcript

John Williams, founder of Life That Counts, shares the leadership lessons he learned serving as an employee at Chick-fil-A, and why the company’s “my pleasure” reply is more than just a response.

“The thing that I learned from Chick-fil-A, the most valuable lesson, was we genuinely had an opportunity to serve people,” says John. “[The owner of the store I worked at] would say, ‘When a person walks through our door, it's not just a belly to fill. It's also a soul to nourish. It's a relationship to cultivate.’”

Watch the video to hear more about the leadership lessons John learned during his time at Chick-fil-A. Apply these lessons to your own leadership and company culture.

We had the opportunity to move back to Alabama after being away from the state for almost 15 years. And a part of that opportunity was to serve at Chick-fil-A. I worked with them as their relationships and marketing director. The store owner/operator there, Randy Earnest, one, he gave me an opportunity. He allowed me, even working with Chick-fil-A, to come in and continue to provide mentoring programs for schools. It was part of my job. We wrote it into my expectations. And as we had the opportunity to serve in our community, we would do things like half-court basketball shots at halftime. We would give away free Chick-fil-A for a year. We were always in schools. We were very active in the community. We gave away a ton.

The thing that I learned from Chick-fil-A, the most valuable lesson, was we genuinely had an opportunity to serve people. Randy would say, "When a person walks through our door, it's not just a belly to fill. It's also a soul to nourish. It's a relationship to cultivate." We had the opportunity to do that.

I still say, "My pleasure." And for me, it's not just Chick-fil-A anymore. It's not just Chick-fil-A speech. For me, saying, "My pleasure," is I showed up today so that I could have the opportunity to serve you. Saying, "You're welcome," for me, almost indicates that, "Hey, I just added value to you and pulled you up to my level, where I'm at. So, kudos to me." Saying, "My pleasure," to me, it indicates a different motivation and a different reason for being there, a different heart condition, if you will.

Because Chick-fil-A employs so many young people, getting to mold those people who are working there with you… and again, another one of Randy's great sayings is, "When I hire a body, I get a mind to go with that." And it's just a fantastic saying because as we're doing those menial common tasks, as we're taking out carts and carts of trash to the bins, and as we're sweeping and mopping up the floor, it's an opportunity for us to model and for us to live out servant leadership. It's an opportunity for us to literally get down where people are and say, "Hey, can I come alongside you? Can I walk with you through this experience? Can I be there with you so that you don't have to do it alone?" And that's one of the great things that I love about Chick-fil-A.
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John Williams

John Williams' mission is to help others take radical ownership for every element of their lives. He is passionate and driven for cultural change for students and wherever people desire to do better than yesterday.

John is foun...

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