written by Brianna Price
Today the Chamber, in partnership with CenterState Bank, welcomed over 200 people to Heartland Church in downtown Winter Haven for our Leadership Summit featuring David Salyers. Having graduated from college on a Saturday morning, David started his career with Chick-fil-A before the day was even over. Back then Chick-fil-A was a much smaller company, with David noting they (administration) operated out of a small warehouse space and his office was a trailer coming off the building. Today, he serves as the Vice President of National, Regional and Local Marketing for Chick- fil-A, Inc., and has invested his entire career as part of a team, committed to building the kind of company culture that people talk about. He took us on a journey of how to build a Remarkable business, a Remarkable culture, Remarkable teams, and more, all through the eyes of Chick-fil-A.
As you can imagine, we took a lot of notes. He was so engaging and inspiring and we wanted to share a recap of our take aways from his two-hour session. But of course we'd be remiss if we didn't give a huge shout out to our sponsors who made today possible.
David explained that what separates Chick-fil-A from any normal company is the fact that they have a purpose beyond money and not every business does. Albert Einstein once said, “Not everything that can be counted counts. Not everything that counts can be counted.” Businesses who seek value beyond money, will find more value in the work their company accomplishes. And when a person is in a job where they feel like they are creating value to others, they aren't in it to make it to retirement.
Chick-fil-A has chosen to change their perspective on how they do business. David’s definition of perspective is that it, “…is the only thing in the world that can radically transform the result you get without altering a single element of your environment.”
For example, a lot of people in the fast food industry question Chick-fil-A's perspective that Sunday is a great day to be closed. But if you look at it from a different perspective, that changes. McDonald's is considered the gold standard in the fast-food industry for many reasons. But McDonald’s and most fast-food chains perspective about a Sunday is that it is a day where they can be open for business and, therefore, open to make money. Chick-fil-A’s perspective is that Sunday is a day that they should be closed for business for employees to spend time with family, friends and worship. So you'd think from the "normal industry viewpoint" that would impact the bottom line. Well, not in the way you think. With 52 less days of business a year compared to McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A averages $5 million in sales per store, which is six times the average for the fast food industry and double the average at a McDonald's store. His philosophy behind perspective is that, “how we view things, drives how we do things.”
David also shared with us the “Maxim of Creativity,” being that we as people are designed to create value in life. One way that David defines things of value in his life is to fill in the blank on a specific statement.
The statement is, “I can’t imagine my life without _______ in it.”
Through this statement, an individual can highlight what they value most in life. My wife, my family, my Apple watch. Whatever it is. Well Chick-fil-A has a goal to make their name something that fills the blank of that statement for every one of its customers.
In order for the name “Chick-fil-A” to fill in that blank for everyone, it requires a culture that transcends business. The culture has to be so compelling and compassionate that customers can't help but say, “I can’t imagine my life without Chick-fil-A in it!”
Chick-fil-A’s culture can be best described in this quote: “Where people believe the best in each other, they want the best for each other and expect the best from each other.” David shared with us that the people he surrounds himself with at work are people he considers to be family. He stressed the importance of hiring people who you truly believe in. When we believe in one another we want the best for one another and when we want the best for one another, we expect the best from one another. This chain reaction creates a culture of trust and one that makes work something to be enjoyed. Most companies only want the best "from" their employees - but skip the other two important steps.
He shared the difference between a normal business and a "Remarkable" business:
Normal vs. Remarkable
Extract Value vs. Create Value
Create a Sale vs. Create a Fan
Increase Shareholder Value vs. Increase Stakeholder Value
P&L/Making a Dollar vs. Platform to Make a Difference
One of the ways that Chick-fil-A is being a Remarkable business is through their community involvement. They are not only creating value for their business, they are creating fans, increasing stakeholder value and creating a platform to make a difference. Their goal is to improve the story for those that they do business with. One of these "change the story" moments was a Chick-fil-A operator who started a Daddy Daughter Date night for their customers. The community came out in droves to volunteer at the event and it has become a staple across their footprint. With violin players, beautiful centerpieces and white tablecloths, Chick-fil-A has taken an opportunity to improve the stories of the fathers and daughters who visit their stores. Check out this Daddy Daughter Date video to see how Chick-fil-A is encompassing all aspects of a Remarkable business in everything they do. (and try not to cry, really.)
Outside of Chick-fil-a there are other businesses who are doing their best to improve the stories of their customers to create more value in their company, beyond the bottom line. In 2013, Coke decided to bridge the gap between India and Pakistan by putting a live communitcation machine in both places and allowed the people of India and the people of Pakistan to communicate. Coke thought about more than money, they thought about the value that they can provide their customers beyond the beverage. David would call this, Thinking Outside the Bill. Check out the video below.
Another example of Thinking Outside the Bill is Westjet's Night Before Christmas. Many of the people who attended Leadership Summit had not even heard of this airline, but after watching the video, the entire audience wanted to fly with them! Westjet decided to go Christmas shopping for everyone on their flight. They brought in a machine that streamed Santa Clause live for the travelers to communicate with. They would tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas and little did they know that, when they landed, all they wanted for Christmas would be given to them as gifts. Check out this video to see how Westjet created fans, value and a platform to make a difference.
Chick-fil-A continues to be one of the leading fast food chains and it is no surprise that they are! Businesses can follow in Chick-fil-A's foot steps by changing their perspective and creating a business that provides it customers with value, beyond money.
While we may not have the budgets of Coke or Chick-fil-A it can be done at the local level. David shared this clip from Good Morning America during Hurricane Harvey.
To finish out the Leadership Summit, Chick-fil-A Winter Haven provided the audience with delicious boxed lunches. CenterState Bank gave David's book Remarkable to each attendee at the event. ASAP Prints assisted us in marketing this event and Heartland Church provided the venue. Because of these sponsors and the remarkable words of David Slayers, this event left everyone leaving energized and ready to build stronger teams and a culture of creating value for others.