This past week I attended an EO/YPO lunch at the City of Refuge. Dan Cathy, current CEO of Chic-fil-A, was kind enough to provide lunch and speak to the group. After listening and observing for an hour, I have concluded that he is a true servant leader with a continuous drive for "chasing cool" by staying on the forefront of technology, social media, and innovation. Here are a few take aways from this amazing leader:
1) The first thing Dan did when he arrived was grab a bucket of drinks and went to every table to make sure each person in the room had what they needed. A true servant leader knows that in order to lead people, you have to show them that you care about them and are looking out for their best interests. The simple act of passing out drinks was a great example to show that he cared about the audience.
2) He challenged all of us to be disciplined in managing ourselves. He said, "If I don't manage me, then I lose my ability to manage and help others.”
3) He said that a true education requires you and your kids to be aware of the world around them. We must be aware that just a few miles from where we are building a $1.6 billion dollar stadium there are people eating out of a trash can. We need to expose ourselves to it and actually see it so that we can be in a position to help. If we don't take advantage of the opportunity to help people and better our community, then we are missing out on a big part of life.
4) Regarding innovation, he said that Chic-fil-A will always try to think differently, to swim upstream, and to circulate with different kinds of people. They will try to lean forward and embrace the changes of the future. He constantly challenges himself to stay up to speed with Facebook, Instagram, and other forms of social media. He wants to be the best millennial of his generation because the market place will handsomely reward them for maintaining an edge and being cool.
5) Dan defines success as becoming the total person that God created you to be, and accomplishing the goals that God helps you set. He always refers back to King Solomon who said to trust in the Lord with all your heart.
Chic-fil-A recently opened their 2000th restaurant…almost 70 years from the day that his father Truett sold his car for $4,500 to build the very first one. All of this has been created by sticking to their original mission and values. I hope you will be able to take away as much as I have from observing one of America's greatest servant leaders.