This is a gem of a book.
Written by the former Chick-Fil-A Vice President Talent and Vice President Sustainability, Dee Ann Turner, it showcases valuable business practices that endear employees to a corporation and keep customers happy and loyal, thus ensuring their staying power.
I read with interest as Ms. Turner told story after story illustrating the guiding principles of Truett Cathy’s company, built–in his own words–‘on biblical principles’.
Here’s an example:
Turner explains how remarkable company cultures are built on not on rules and regulations but on relationships. In 2017 during Hurricane Harvey, a regular customer at Chick-Fil-A called his local franchise. The branch was closed due to the hurricane, but team member Jeff was in the kitchen preparing food for the emergency responders. He recognized the number calling as a regular and answered the phone to let the customer know the store was closed. The man needed a boat, so Jeff called someone he knew with a boat, and together with a few neighbors and a some jet-skis they rescued the elderly couple from the flooding. A picture of the couple on a jet ski made national news. This story illustrates a key principle within the culture of Chick-Fil-A: Make the second mile second nature.
Often companies start out great but over time the inner core values erode away. Without competent wise leadership the original purpose gets lost. Some signs of an eroding culture? Turner gives several.
1) People within the company no longer connect with the purpose of the organization.
2) People within the organization forget who they are serving.
3) People within the organization no longer respect each other or feel respected.
I’m pretty sure that most of us could list a number of organizations that, once vibrant, are now heading downhill.
Hiring the best people in the first place is one of Turner’s suggestions for keeping an organization relevant and growing. She asks the question when hiring franchisees, “Would I like my child to be working for this person?” She also suggests in an interview that the interviewer ‘go three questions deep,’ asking a question and then delving deeper to understand the prospective employee’s core values. She recommends always choosing people with excellent character, because character affects every area of the organization.
Turner’s book is packed with good advice that resonates far beyond the job market. I highly recommend it for employees, mid-level management and top-tier bosses. It simply oozes common sense and wisdom. And founder Truett Cathy’s success model speaks for itself.
I was given a copy of this book by Baker Publishing in return for my honest opinion.