Chick-Fil-A COO Dan Cathy offered leadership advice and examples from his company to an audience of more than 200 at a Lunch and Learn session at Holly Springs High School on June 20. About 30 members of the Holly Springs Town Council and staff were there, as well as Mayor Sears and HSHS principal Tim Locklear.
Cathy said there was “nothing sneaky-peaky with leadership,” and that leaders must lead by example. He solidified this tip by citing an example of the guilt he felt for sneaking out of his office one day to attend his son’s track meet. Cathy felt guilty because if he [the boss] was sneaking out of the office, what were other workers doing when no one was looking? After that, he made it a policy for himself and his workers to be honest about where they were going if they had to leave.
Cathy also showed the audience a quote from Solomon which read “A good name is more desirable than great riches.” Cathy explained that a person’s or company’s name is vital to good leadership.
“You want your name and reputation to be impeccable,” he said.
Cathy showed guests the training video titled “Every Life Has a Story” that Chick-Fil-A shows to its new employees. The video featured Chick-Fil-A customers and employees behaving normally in a restaurant while revealing details about their lives, which included divorce, layoffs and family strife. Cathy said that the point of the video was to ensure employees showed tolerance and care toward customers.
“We want this to be a haven. We want this to be the highlight of your day,” Cathy said.
Cathy included several moments of humor in his session, such as a video of guitarist Tim Hawkins singing his song “Chick-Fil-A” to the tune of The Beatles’ hit “Yesterday.” Cathy also gave guests an exclusive look at Chick-Fil-A’s newest commercial, which featured what he called two “incredibly resourceful” cows peeking into windows of a skyscraper to see who was eating burgers.
Cathy ended the session by having several guests pull items out of his “Leadership Tool Kit.” The items drawn included a tiara, which signified the importance of “orchestrating memorable experiences,” and a hammer saved from the rebuilding efforts in Joplin, MO, after a tornado leveled the town in 2011. Cathy said the hammer signified how leaders are “building for tomorrow.
The “tool kit” also featured a Slinky, which signified how effective leaders draw followers and prepare them to lead.
“Tomorrow’s leaders are today’s followers, and we need to act accordingly,” Cathy said.
Guests were given a boxed Chick-Fil-A lunch and coupons in the cafeteria after the session.
Laurie Allred, owner of a Holly Springs Chick-Fil-A, said she enjoyed the Lunch and Learn session.
“I think it was really well-done. It was a lot of fun for me. We had a lot of confidence in the Holly Springs community [to turn out],” she said.
Allred said that Chick-Fil-A’s next big event will be a father/son tailgating event on Aug. 20.