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UpBeat Spiritual Living: Friendliness and Faith in Business—Chick-Fil-A

July 12, 2012

© 2012 Kebba Buckley Button.  World Rights Reserved

Photo by Alma Daniels

Today, I had the unusual opportunity to hug a cow.  I even posed for a picture with the cow, which was wearing a red t-shirt emblazoned, “Eat Mor Chikin”.  This could only happen if a team from Chik-Fil-A was in the house.  And at Grand Canyon University, they were on site to give a leadership show and a talk by CEO Dan Cathy.

Early arrivals were treated to delightfully cheerful banter, and absurdly fun games like “roll the Oreo cookie from your forehead to your mouth.”  Oh yes.  Try that at home!  For winning the games, people received various sizes of stuffed cows with the CFA logo, or copies of Dan Cathy’s business leadership books.  The welcomemeister and CFA leadership team literally ran around the stadium, tossing balls, shooting t-shirts out of a friendly air-bazooka, and passing out hundreds of stuffed cows.  When they selected our entire row for prizes, one man vaulted over to our row from the one ahead.  Everyone cheered, and the CFA welcomemeister invited him to the stage for another fun competition.  Quiz questions were posed on CFA topics, like, “what was Dan Cathy’s father’s first name?” and “how many stores will CFA be opening this year?”  It was all done with a great sense of humor.  I don’t know when I have laughed so much.

Finally, Dan Cathy came out, wearing a cow hat.  He spun folksy tales of his parents starting the business.  He talked about himself and his siblings taking a generational vow to continue the family business.  It wasn’t until his last point that I got the full meaning of the homespun, slow, family-trivia-oriented buildup:  “An endearing brand is an enduring brand.”  They were modeling their business success philosophy.

Other key points Dan Cathy made were also very valuable.  Here are a few:

Alma Daniels with a CFA cow
Photo by Kebba Buckley Button

●  Fall in love with your work and you will never work again.
●  Food tastes better if you use all first names, even for the CEO
●  The majority of businesses in the US are family-owned.  Be faithful to your business like a marriage.

●  Think decade-to-decade or generation to generation, not quarter-to-quarter like most businesses..
●  Have a company motto something like CFA’s:  To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come into contact with our company.
●  You are where you as a part of God’s plan. Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) offers: For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to. God is always getting us ready for the next thing. So listen.
●  Stay fresh in your thinking.  And get out of your box.  You have to get out of your box to “think outside the box.”
●  In your conduct, be insistent and consistent
●  Stay on track. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

●  Teach the history of your brand. Infect everyone with the historic DNA of your organization.  Endearing brands are enduring brands.
●  Be friendly and flexible, and have fun!

And when you get a chance, hug a cow.  It will help you get out of your box and remind you what fun those CFA guys (and gals) have in business, while succeeding.  And you can, too!



● Rev. Kebba Buckley Button is the author of the 2012 book, Peace Within:  Your Peaceful Inner Core.

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