Last week I had an experience that momentary carried me back to my first job out of college, working for Steelcase, Inc. in Grand Rapids, MI.
It happened because, like Steelcase back in the 1980’s:
It obvious Chick-fil-A’s corporate office and its employees clearly show the values and mission of the company.
That Chick-fil-A is also on a fast track of growth in terms of sales, stores and markets.
And Chick-fil-A places a high value on its employees and store operators. For example, Chick-fil-A encourages its employees to use, free of charge and during working hours, the on-site health and fitness center, and provides all employees free meals in the corporate dining room (I had grilled tuna).
But I as I listened to our tour guide, Andrea Lee, talk about the company and its leadership, that’s when my déjà vu was strongest.
You see, Chick-fil-A, like Steelcase’s first 75 years, is family owned and family lead. The Cathy family believes their company’s purpose is something more significant than just a return on stockholder’s equity. It’s clear they believe Chick-fil-A can and should improve the lives of its employees, store operating partners, the communities it operates in, and of course its customers. It seems chicken is just a means to a greater end – that end being inspired people, stronger families, better communities and ultimately – glory to God.
It’s a vision, I have no doubt, if held to, will continue to bring great returns on investment, not just to the stockholders, but more importantly to all the lives Chick-fil-A touches. And it’s a vision worth emulating.
Order S. Truett Cathy’s book here.