It's My Pleasure: Dee Ann Turner on Corporate Purpose
Vice President of Sustainability for Chick-fil-A, Inc. Dee Ann Turner shares how this Chick-fil-A corporate purpose led to the company’s explosive success. Tune in for Turner’s valuable insight on how people decisions are the most important decisions you’ll make in your leadership journey.
Vice President of Sustainability for Chick-fil-A, Inc. Dee Ann Turner shares how this Chick-fil-A corporate purpose led to the company’s explosive success. Tune in for Turner’s valuable insight on how people decisions are the most important decisions you’ll make in your leadership journey.
Speaker 1:0:01Welcome to this edition of a survivor's journey with rocky desteffano. Rocky has been a server since his early days at working behind the counter at a chick fil a to having a successful restaurant of his own being a server himself. He loves to talk about leading yourself. A few, many, and leading an organization. Today. We welcome Dan Turner, a server journey. Deann is worth for chick filet for more than 30 years and currently serves as the vice president of state stability over the years. She gets plugged into intricate part in growing chick filets unique and highly regarded culture. Rocky was able to catch up with den at Sea World in Orlando, Florida. Let's join that interview in progress. Um, but I
Speaker 2:0:49ask just if you could tell us what you were doing prior to chick filet and maybe how you got associated with chick fil A. I was in middle school before I got associated with just devout, actually rocky. I came out of college and went straight to chick fil a 21. And so I really, my background interestingly was I worked for my college in the recruiting area. So that was my first college in Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, Cincinnati Christian, University of Toledo, Ohio. I'm from Ohio, so I like to think that not many people plug Ohio has been great, but it's great. So I enjoyed my time there. So I came right out of school and I went to. The funny thing about it was I was a journalism major and I worked, I did work for a brief time for an advertising firm, uh, when I first got out of school.
Speaker 2:1:39And so being a journalism major, I learned really quickly that probably the place to make a living would be on the advertising side of it. And I went to chick fil a applying for a position in advertising and I was turned down twice. And then finally the most amazing thing happened. My husband was a pastor and you're the what was then the Home Office at first, the first year. And a lady came in and she had a flat tire and she asked if she could use the phone case, you know, rocky back then there were no cell phones. So I do remember that she has to use the phone and he said, Oh, you want me to do that? I'll change the tire for you. So you went out and changed the tire and when she was, when he was finished, she gave him one of those cards, you know, a be our guest card, a sandwich, and he said, Oh, do you work at chick filet?
Speaker 2:2:28And she said, well, I do, but my husband's being transferred and so I'm leaving my job. He said, Oh really? What department do you work in? Providence here. Right? And she says advertising. And so he quickly or her out of the church, he picked up the phone and called me and said they have a job in advertising. I picked up the phone and called them right away and I think they were just tired of me constantly pestering them for an interview. Yeah. So they invited me in. I went through the whole interviewing process and I got to the very last interview in the vice president human said to me, he said, well, you know, we have this job in human resources if you're interested in that, and my whole plan was I'll spend a couple of years in hr and uh, because that'll be interesting in the people are nice there and then I'll move to marketing and 32 years later I never went to marketing.
Speaker 2:3:18That's an awesome story. I love that too. My first time in interviewing with chick fil a, I was turned down to and it actually, you speak about it, some of your books, I'll kind of save it for later, but chicken, I did me the greatest service the first time by actually turning me down because when I came back to them I was such a better. I was ready for the job. You know. Talk about a little bit about your family and maybe your passions in life. What, what makes you tick? Sure. Well definitely my family makes me tick and I've been married to my husband actually for almost 35 years and we have three sons, Trenton, who is 28 and married to Katie, my daughter in love and Trevor Who's 24 and trey who's 18, so we're about to be empty nesters. He's headed off to college now, which college to choose?
Speaker 2:4:08He's going to white forest. Oh wonderful. That's great. Yeah, it's going to play football there. So we're. And so I knew that because I think one of your passions is football. Well, I didn't have much choice to have them college football players and uh, out of the three. And so we've, we've spent a lot of time and all kinds of sports fields over the time, but I really have a passion. Um, our local church, we're really involved in my husband's chairman of the elders there. And then missions has been a big drive in my life really in the last 15 years since my kids were big enough for me to pursue that. So. And you do a lot of work in Africa, is that correct? Have in the past. That's been a big passion. My husband and I got involved in a project in Kenya and we built, um, for children's homes.
Speaker 2:4:53They're, they're 80 kids now in those homes. Most recently I've been doing some work in Guatemala and um, particularly around women's ministry and also leadership training. So those are two things that have been very interesting to me lately. Yeah. Yeah. That's awesome. Um, so I'm a little bit curious. You've worked with chick fil a now for 32 years and then all of a sudden you write this book and I love the title. It's called. It's my pleasure. Talk to me about why you felt compelled to write the book at this stage. Sure. Well, it's my pleasure. I started writing that book in 2014 and what had happened is my father had passed away. He was a big business mentor of mine and Truett Cathy, the founder of chick fil a, was also a mentor of mine and I'm sure we'll talk more about what he taught me, but he was a big mentor of mine and in losing both of them around the same time in my life because I had been a writer since I was a young girl.
Speaker 2:5:53The way I dealt with grief was just to start riding. Right. And so I started writing just what was in my heart and some people have called this my love letter to chick filet and it really was. And so I started writing about all these experiences that I had and I wasn't writing a book. I was just riding and if you ever turned exactly some of them turned into blog posts will. The next thing I knew I'd written on vacation, Christmas vacation, 16,000 words and so somebody and somebody came along, so would you like to publish that? In? My intent at the time was very internal to chick fil a focused. The idea was I said, well, you know, I don't want the people like you and I rocky. He knew true it to forget what he taught us, that people decisions are the most important decisions that we make and that our business is founded on.
Speaker 2:6:43The foundation of our business is great people decisions and I didn't want our CIC flight franchisees and I didn't want our staff members to ever forget that. And then I realized because it was happening very quickly, all these people who were coming along as Franchisees, as staff members that checked why who'd never met true it and I wanted them to know so it was for us not to forget and for them to know and that's why I decided to publish it and that's a great reason. We were talking a little bit before about we become this big company and many of the people that are associated with it didn't ever really get the shake. True Tan, right? That's a big difference because he had such a meaningful impact on so many people. Talk about a little bit because you mentioned a lot about creating that compelling culture.
Speaker 2:7:31What are some ways that you feel like you've helped do that at chick filet and and and some ways that that is important? When I think about, again, we have to go back to truth because he created the foundation of our culture from the very beginning and you think about the way he was even when there were just a few people in the organization or even go back to his original restaurant. Nineteen 46 and hateful Georgia a little bit different time, right? Yes. And you know, true. It wasn't while he believed he served good food, in fact the. He had a quote, food is essential to life, therefore make it good, but at the same time what he really felt like was important and why his gas kept coming. You know, some of those guests, they were open 24 hours a day and some of those that worked at the local auto factory and in the airlines, they would eat with them three times a day and I'm not sure if they came back for the food.
Speaker 2:8:22I think it's more likely that they came back because he truly in his employees, knew their name, they knew their regular orders and they knew their stories too. And so it was like the cheers of its time where everybody knows your name, you know, and so I think that's, um, I think he said that foundation of being a police that's welcoming, that's inclusive, that's friendly, and then we built upon that. And so what we did from building the culture standpoint, we started with the corporate purpose. And while true that didn't really put that literally into stone, which, you know, we at stone, at the support center now, he didn't put it into stone until 1983. Um, the truth is I think that the principles of which the corporate purpose started from the very beginning, of course we know the corporate purpose is to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that's entrusted to us and a positive influence on all who come in contact with chick a. and so when that came about, then it was then so many people at Chick filet, I was just part of a lot of people at Chick filet that began to articulate exactly what that means, whether it played out in a mission statement or in our core values are some of the guiding principles of the business that is, that is the foundation on which everything started and we built from there.
Speaker 3:9:38And you feel like that was important to me. I, without that clear focus, it's easy to forget why we're doing what we're doing and the why is so important. You know, I remember being a 16 year old team member and meeting true it and I didn't realize then who I was speaking with. I didn't realize. And yet he said that statement to me and it spoke to a 16 year old because it didn't really talk about selling chicken or making profit. It talked about being a good steward and having this impact on people. And that really spoke loudly to me. And it sounds like it did to you also. Absolutely. So, um, when I started with chick fil a, and this is where I'm going back 30 years to, um, it was a small company, I think we, I think by first a get together with chick fil a.
Speaker 3:10:26We were around 300 stores and nobody up north. All my relatives, they had never heard of chick fil a and they didn't know what I was getting involved with. There were still calling it chick lit or. Oh yeah, if we were lucky they were calling it at all, you know. And now we're this company of, you know, several thousand stores and we're getting ready to take over the position. I think I said the number three restaurant in America behind starbucks and Mcdonald's. Um, how, how did that happen? Because I know you had a role in that for sure. By selecting proper talent. How did we get so big? So though quick
Speaker 2:11:02might have to edit this part, Larry is like, Whoa, how did we do? I think back to when Chipotle, I really began to explode. Now we started out in regional malls, but mainly in the southeast. You alluded to the fact that you were from Ohio and that was a new area for us, but there we were in the early 19 eighties regional restaurant for the most part in malls. One of the most important decisions chick fil I made for its growth was recognizing what was going to happen to the shopping mall. And in 1985 they took a big risk and I remember this so well that the executives at chick fil a, because in 1985 I was an administrator and I remember the executives walking around wringing their hands because this was a very expensive venture to open the first restaurant on the street and it was a course at north Druid hills there in the Atlanta area.
Speaker 2:11:57And they, you know, is this the right thing? Are we making the right decision? This is going to cost so much money. And what if they had not made that decision, you know, chick filet would exist no more. We would have become obsolete if they're not taken that risk. So when you think about, you know, the business school model of s curves, that was one of those inflection points that was so important to the growth of chick fil a, but it wasn't much later than that as we began to expand and plan that Truett was meeting with a group of leaders and he said something very important, uh, people had vision for this big growth and of course he was always his, his statement was we, we climb with Karen competent. And uh, he was very careful about growth. He didn't like to add a lot of staff members because he never wanted to be in a position to have to lay people off.
Speaker 2:12:45And he knew the volatility of business. So he was very careful about those things, but he made a statement somewhere in the middle of all that growth and he said, we're not going to get bigger til we get better. Yeah, I remember that. And he stopped and said, we're going to focus on operational excellence. We're going, it doesn't matter how big we get, we're going to do things right. We're going to make sure we have consistency. And um, we're going to focus on our service model and of course that turned into, you know, make second mile second nature as our second mile service model. And then the third part of that that came later was creating remarkable experiences for guests. So all of those things we're about, we're going to get better before we get big.
Speaker 3:13:25Yeah. And that spoke a lot to a lot of us because we were afraid we'd get bigger but not better is it was a big fear. Yeah, for sure. True.
Speaker 2:13:33It was so smart and he was exactly right because that is because we focused on those things that actually helped us get bigger and the demand for chick filet and more locations and so forth became evident and it provided that opportunity. But I think that was a very important turning point for chick filet.
Speaker 3:13:49Yeah, I agree. And it's so funny to think back now where we have, you know, so many more freestanding stores and malls and really the malls are very small part of our business. Still important but very small. It's so weird to think that that was such a tough decision. With hindsight, it looks like the only option, but I could see how that would be a really scary process to decide where to go and I don't want to tip toe around this next question. You've had a huge role in bringing in the top talent is chain, which I really feel like is one of our differences compared to a lot of chains and I'm not just saying that because you've had a hand in my career, although I appreciate that. Tell us what in your opinion, is the most important thing that you look for when you're hiring a staff member or bringing an operator on to, onto the chain oriented chain?
Speaker 2:14:42I have to say, I think the most important thing when we're making those decisions, and you know, I said earlier, people decisions are the most important decisions we make and there's no more important decision we make at chick a. Then he would give the keys to the restaurant to yes. Uh, the, the entire operation depends on the quality of that individual. Right? And when we're selecting, I believe, selecting for character first. Yeah. You can teach just about anybody. I think rocky and you've taught a lot of people to make a chicken sandwich. Right? I've learned to make one. I've never taught anybody to make a chicken sandwich. Just declare, clarify.
Speaker 3:15:16I'm sure you do. I'm sure you can do that.
Speaker 2:15:19But uh, but the character piece that's really hard to teach somebody. No, I think character is taught and I think that's one of the fantastic things about interesting. A young person to work for chick fil a operators. I think that's one things they learned in their time at chick filet is character attributes. But selecting for character first, somebody who's going to represent the brand, the good name of chick fil a in a community is very, very important. So that's to me the most important thing.
Speaker 3:15:51And, and I would agree with you on. I feel like when I came to chick fil a, I had the character piece, but I was still trying to figure it out. And My, the, the role of my operator was huge and kind of, you know, standing off the rough edges and really showing me and living it out daily. This is what character looks like. I'm making the decisions that are not going to make you more money but on the right decision. So what, when you talk about recruiting for culture, and I think that feeds into some of what you were saying to talk about that. How do you recruit for culture?
Speaker 2:16:26I always think the culture piece, a lot of that is give people an opportunity to screen themselves out. Right? So one things we do as you well know, we take a lot of time to make a selection. It's not because we can't make up our mind is to expose people to what we're all about and let them decide, does this fit, is this a place for me to be? And I'm not, you know, at the top would be do online with the purpose of the organization to be a faithful steward and to impact lives. That would be one of the obvious ones. But if you've had people that we've sent into your restaurant and said, hey, go, go talk to rocky, go find out if this is a lifestyle that you want to live, right. And um, in terms of both what the work actually is, and then secondly, that responsibility of we have a brand that has a good name and are you willing to live your life and run your business in such a way that it's reflective of that good name? And so that's what I mean by selecting for culture. And, and I actually believe for the most part, people select themselves for that part of it because I agree. What we want to do is give them all the exposure and then let them decide if this is a place where they, they think they would fit in. Well
Speaker 3:17:33that, that's an excellent point. There's one question that you mentioned, the book that you asked before you make a decision on staff or operators and I love it and it's something that I've stolen for sure. I use this when I look to hire, to share with me that question that you asked yourself.
Speaker 2:17:52Absolutely. Well, primarily this, um, is around the selection of operators and you know, we, I've used the term franchisee because we use that interchangeably at chick fil a, but the most important question is at the end of the interview for me to think about that person in, in, um, in ask them, no, why would I want my children to work for you? Yeah. Because I am obviously in a restaurant chain and we hire a lot of. I shouldn't say we, you all hire a lot of teens and if I wouldn't want my children to work for this person, why would I expect anybody else who would want their children?
Speaker 3:18:27That's a great question and I can tell you that flavors, every decision every day for me because when I, if I'm asking that, you know, what I want somebody to like for me, it's more of what I want my daughters to work alongside this person. That's the kind of the question that I asked when they, when they are interviewing or when I'm interviewing them, but it does impact me because if I'm saying do I want my daughters to work alongside them, then I also have to ask myself what I want my daughters to work for me. I mean, am I going to impact and influence no light,
Speaker 2:18:59and I hope that that's something that people as they get into their role as a operator and they have tough days and you know, I mean, again, not something I've done, but uh, I know that those are really, really tough days in and talk to plenty of operators to understand that, that they remember that is that somebody chose them to be a leader over somebody else's child. And so that every employee that works for them is somebody's son and daughter, somebody's mom or dad, somebody's wife or husband, and that they're treated in the same way that they'd want those people in their life to be treated even when it's hard.
Speaker 3:19:33I think when you think about that, when you asked yourself those questions, it inherently makes you a better leader and it also, there's a certain amount of pressure because you want to be that person. It takes it a lot farther away from just the chicken sandwich. Do you think about things like that in your book? You mentioned a lot about impacting lives and I love that because you wouldn't necessarily think that a restaurant would be concerned about impacting lives, but you know, you've mentioned some of your work in Kenya and Jamala. Talk to me. What, what you feel or why is that important that we impact?
Speaker 2:20:11Nope. I go back to the history of chick filet and I think about true at Cathy and you might remember the story and it's not and it's my pleasure, but I'll tell you really quickly. You had an employee that worked for him named Henry and Henry worked there at the Dwarf House in the 19 fifties. His African American young man and true. It took a real interest in him, which was unusual for the times, but Henry was a good student. He was smart and, but Henry was from a, I use the oldest of a family of seven and he had earned a scholarship to college but it any, wanted to be a doctor, but um, with this needs for his family, he felt like he had to keep working at the restaurant and he didn't respond to that scholarship. So I graduated from high school and he didn't go onto college.
Speaker 2:20:57We'll true it, really wanted to see that happen. So he put a jar in his restaurant, said Eddie's college fund. And the guests by that time really love that. Twos were a favorite cooks. So you know, they dropped their spare change in there over the summer, after that first year and at the end of the summer trip went to Eddie. He said, so how much money do you have? And he said, well, I have about half of the tuition I need. Well the next morning there was a check for the rest of it in there from Jura Cathy. Now true. It was not a wealthy man at this point. He was running just one small tiny restaurant. He had no idea the impact that would have for generations to come, but you know, the rest of the story was that he did go on to college and got his degree. You didn't get to go to medical school, but he did get his master's degree and he became a high ranking official in the school system and what she taught.
Speaker 2:21:48And so eddie went on to impact thousands of lives because of true. It's investment in him. Absolutely. And that's really been, that was what, when we talk about impacting lives, I really believe it started and I said Henry, but it was actually eddie white. So Henry was his dad. That's why I was confused, but it was eddie white. And uh, so, um, I believe it really started with are now. How did that grow? Well, now we have a chick fil a has 2100 restaurants in about 2000 Franchisees in 1600 staff members. And then you know, chick fillet franchisees have nearly 200,000 team members. I actually did not that amazing number while the multiplication of all that influence that started with one man. So one, one time in our annual conference that we have together at chick filet, I was sitting around a table of 10 and it was all predominantly chick fil a operators in their spouses and in a future flight staff members and I just stopped and listened to what was being talked about and what was being talked about at each of these places was um, all the missions around the world.
Speaker 2:22:56They were involved in teaching leadership skills in countries where people wouldn't have the opportunity drilling wells for clean drinking water, building orphanages or children's homes, building churches, building schools. I'm feeding the hungry, serving in all these ways all over the country. Places that will never hear it. Chick, chick fil a. They don't know where to chick filet sandwiches, places that true. It probably didn't even know where they were and he had never visited. But that impact. And that to me is why I've been here for 32 years and you know, chicken is just a means to do all of those things. And true, it was a great steward of that. And he's passed that legacy on to all of us. To continue and there's a certain amount of, you know, we, we love hearing those stories. I love, I'm excited about good sales or,
Speaker 3:23:46or you know, a, a good profit check at the end of the month, but the thing that sustains me are those stories, the Times I know that I've been able to impact people, but I impact people because I was impacted by true in, in, in my operator and you know, and in fact we're a in October going to bring, I think the first team and operator mission trip to build a water well in Nicaragua. And so I actually have a director now that we're trying to grow it to where two times a year our store can build a well somewhere and we're as excited about that as doing it. $20,000 a day for sure.
Speaker 2:24:27Well that's $20,000 days help for that opportunity. Absolutely. I know you're thankful for those guests to. Yes, invest in that way.
Speaker 3:24:33Well, yeah it is. And I, you know, you mentioned one true started, he wasn't what he is now or what he was now where this huge chain you was, it was a nickel and dime business for them. And so the impacts of a few pennies for Eddie it, it does all this. So without a doubt, if my customers didn't come in and eat with us, often we wouldn't have the ability to do these things. But I do think it's a, they even, they understand it's more than just a chicken sandwich, you astronaut. One of my favorite quotes and chapter four, you really talk about stewarding talent and the quote was the kindest thing that you can do for someone is tell them the truth. I love that statement and it's one that has taken me years to learn that. The truth aspect. Talk to me a about that. What
Speaker 2:25:24you mean with that statement? I think we have a choice to be nice or kind and nice. Sometimes it's just telling things to people because that's what they want to hear, right? And kindness when we tell them the truth. And, and so a lot of other lessons around that statement is things like it's kindness to reviews immediately what you eventually intend to deny. Another great quote. Yeah, I learned that from president, our former chip light president Jimmy Collins, in fact, that was, he, he, uh, instilled that so much in me, especially in making hiring decisions because wasn't it disappointing to someone if you drag them along through an entire interviewing process in this used to happen at times that people would, it would stretch out for five or six months and then to be told no. And that wasn't a very kind thing at all. And so what he really pushed me was when, you know, make that decision and let them know, I'm telling people the truth.
Speaker 2:26:23The other reason I think it's important to tell the people, the truth, people who work for you and about their performance and about, do you know, do I have an opportunity for growth or not, um, to, to not tell them that is to steal their life. Um, and now that's a strong statement or at least still their career, but not to be, you know, if is working for you, rocky and, and they have aspirations of being a chick fil a operator, but you know, that's not the right career path. And, and we don't tell them the truth about that. Then, you know, how do they feel about the time that they've invested and they can make a choice. They may say, Hey, I might not be able to be an operator, but I would love to continue working for you in the leadership role. That would be fantastic.
Speaker 2:27:05But allowing people to make those choices, um, is so much kinder and so much a better steward of talent because we're called not to be just a faithful steward of obviously our treasure, but if time and talent as well and so to, to tell people the truth about what they need to know is a better stewardship of that talent. Yeah. Real, real quick. Seeing that in, in reality, in practice, when I was first applying with chick flay, um, I had also received a scholarship offer to law school. And something in the interview process, I must have tipped my hat. That may be I was a little bit 50 slash 50 and so they had to tell me over a, we're a phone conversation that we think you're a fit, but were afraid that you would be cheating yourself if you didn't pursue law school first.
Speaker 2:27:56And so, um, at first I was devastated of course because I really want to chick fil a. But that allowed me to go to law school and see, even though I like law, I don't want to be an attorney so that when I came back to chick filet and thankfully they accepted me the second time. I never, when I have a bad day, think I should have been an attorney. I know and I think often about it was a lesson and it was an expensive lesson, but it was the right one because I think I would have wondered did I make the wrong choice? And I never. And so that was a kindness that they did for me. Even on the roughest day. I never wonder what I know I made the right choice. Right. So, and that's what we eventually want. We're not trying to talk anybody into doing this.
Speaker 2:28:40We want it to be the right thing for them, the right thing for us. And when that happens, I mean, that's just contributed to the overall success when they're able to find people who want to stay for a long, long time. Yeah. So, uh, another quote that I loved was integrity suffers and relationships are diminished when we don't do what we say. We will do. Flesh out that statement a little bit because I agree with it. But how do you think that that impacts people when you don't do the things you say you're going to do?
Speaker 2:29:13You know? Um, my, one of my favorite Bible verses was one that I heard truett cathy say over and over again, proverbs 22, one, a good name is rather to be had than great riches. And um, I think that that is the verse of Integrity. I agree. Uh, and so when in, in our organization, one of the ways we defined integrity is doing what's right, doing the right thing. Even when it's hard. And, you know, I think about the example that true at set with that and that was being closed on Sunday and while it would have been, um, you know, as he expanded the business, people don't know this about him, but here he is, he's invested, everything has leveraged himself. He's trying to expand this business, gets this great idea. I'm going to go in shopping malls and gets in the first one, but he starts expanding in the 19 seventies.
Speaker 2:30:06Well, we know what was going on in the 19 seventies. Shopping malls were all the rage and Sunday was the biggest day. And so he'd go to the landlords and they'd say, Hey, we'd love to have you here, but you need to open on Sunday. Right? And true said, well, I won't be able to do business with you then. And he walked away. And um, you know, to this day that has continued to be of course, chick vice policy to be closed on Sunday near the end of its life. A lot of people would ask him a true, did you ever think about how much money you lost because you were closed on Sunday? And he would respond? No, but I've thought about how much money I would have lost had chosen to open on Sunday. That's a great statement. So that was a model of doing what is right even when it's hard.
Speaker 2:30:51And what I, what I think when I think about chick filets leadership, especially in the days that we're in now, now, no organization is perfect. No person is perfect and, and everybody makes mistakes. But one of the things that I think chick fil a really has going for is I look at the leaders in our organization is that they're people of integrity and they select people of integrity. People who, who do what they say they're going to do, um, whether it's the simple thing and the important thing, a serving chick fil a operators or staff member serving you all because that's what we're in business today. You're the ones who, um, you know, Jimmy used to say nothing happens until someone sells something and you're the one selling it. So whether it's that part of doing what you say you do to support those that were in business with, um, or um, being sure that food is safe for our customer to eat right now and that you're committed to that idea that that's my integrity.
Speaker 2:31:48Um, in that case, that's just a principle I've seen live down again and again and again, I agree. So, you know, our podcast is called a server's journey and one thing that I just, it's, it permeates chick fil a is this idea of servant leadership and you write a good deal about that in the book. Um, who are some of the people that you look up to as a great example of servant leadership, um, within the chick fil a family. There's a couple of real strong examples that come to mind with me. One of them is his chick vice president, Tim, to softness in watching Tim demonstrate these principles over and over again. Now he taught them. I had the privilege of reporting to Tim for about 15 years during my career at chick filet and I, that's probably the thing he taught me the most about without using words and watching his behavior.
Speaker 2:32:40You know, he would be the first to arrive in the last to leave and rocky if he walked into your restaurant today. We both know exactly the very first thing he would do. Go meet all your team members, right? Yeah. Yeah. He kind of forgets you. He goes to the team members, which I've always appreciated. Yeah. And, and then then he'll remember their names and the next time he comes into your restaurant and he sees them, he calls them by name, which absolutely amazes me that he has that ability to do that. And it's all genuine and authentic. Right. Um, but I've, I've watched him do a lot of things, but there's one day that just stands out in my mind that I've not forgotten. And there's a day, every couple of years that the entire staff gets together for summit to learn about the business and talk about plans and, and really to focus on how can we serve chick fil a operators better.
Speaker 2:33:25That's one of the main purposes of it. And we were at this event a couple of years ago and it was one in which we had to take buses to the venue and people arrived on those buses all at different times, but we all left at the same time and there were a limited number of buses to bus everybody. And it was 5:00 on a Friday afternoon, you know, and everybody's kind of excited to get where they need to get at 5:00 on a Friday afternoon. And some of them had to get back to the office to pick up children in the childcare center or whatever. And I was in charge of the event. So I was hanging back myself, getting people on buses. And then I realized the other person that was hanging back with me was tim to soft plus the president of the company.
Speaker 2:34:10And he wasn't. Um, and you know what, he went just standing around waiting or he wasn't overallness phone in a corner doing his email. He was standing out there with all those other people who are waiting. He was asking about their families. He was talking to them. He was using that time to relate to people that he works with. And then we put the last person on the bus and he looked around and he said, is there anyone else? And there was a. and he said, okay, and he hopped on the bus and I mean that goes back to what true had said about becoming better instead of bigger. And he's, I mean, he's growing that culture. We get better by interacting with people, by serving people. And that's always spoke volumes to me for sure. So that's one little example, rocky, but they're just, as you know, I mean we both had a long career, took off and just watched this, this example after example after example of people who live out that servant leader model.
Speaker 2:35:05One of the things that I was really glad we recently had a change in our core values. Now your purpose in an organization doesn't change. Your mission will change when you've accomplished it in core values can change and they didn't change that much because they're really based on the original core values, but I like the ones we came up with because they're a little bit more descriptive in our number one core value is we're here to serve obviously, um, team members or are part of chick fil a to serve guests upper serve, both the guest and their team members. And our job at the support center is to serve operators so that they can better do what they're doing. And I love that description of that's what we're here as an organization today.
Speaker 3:35:46Well, and as we grow bigger and you know, we're no longer a chain of 300, now we're a chain of 2100 with 200,000 team members and a corporate staff of thousands. You have to be more intentional about reminding people, Hey, this is what we do it more than anything else. And I find that even in our store that very intentional about, hey, our job is our, our mission or our vision. And our store is to make their story better and we mean I've got to make my team story better and they have to make my story better and that we often make the customer's story. But you know, when it works, it's a beautiful thing, but you know, when you miss it and it's great to hear about Tim and his dedication to it.
Speaker 2:36:30Again, I said this earlier, we're not perfect and all of this. There's one thing that we try to do that I think is different about chick fil a's culture in this area is, is we call it the inverted pyramid. Yeah. At chick fil a, the people who work at the support center or not at the top of the organization and those in leaders at the support center would be the very first people to tell you that the people at the top of our organization, our operators, because there's, they are what makes that happen in really valued or the team members that work for them because they are the interface of our brand to chick fil a customers every day.
Speaker 3:37:06Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And, and, and, and my location, it's, it's me at the bottom serving my team so that they can serve the ultimate customer, which is the actual customer with the dollar and in their hands, you know. Well, I'm here to serve as journey. We have a fun segment and we call it this one or that one. Okay. I won't put you on the spot, but in this segment we're going to basically throw, throw two names out to different people and I just want you to say your favorite, which one's your favorite and maybe a. okay. So, uh, and it's okay if you don't know or if you don't have a favorite, but Larry can edit. So the. So the first one is Elan Musk or Richard Branson from Virgin Atlantic Airlines, Richard Branson and, and primarily just because I'm so I travel so much and I'm intrigued by some of the things he's done in an airplane. That's pretty cool. Yeah. Alright. Now Steve Jobs or Bill Gates.
Speaker 2:38:05Bill Gates is benevolence. Unreal, isn't it? Yes, absolutely. And just his parenting and all of those things. I have a lot of respect.
Speaker 3:38:15I, I, I'm right there with an apple person, but I have a lot of respect for Bill Gates. It's because I'm an apple person too, but it's easier to respect bill gates and I, I still, even though I have an Imac, I still use the windows, but also Steven Spielberg or Walt Disney. That's a hard one. Right? Um,
Speaker 2:38:38I might say Walt Disney.
Speaker 3:38:41Are we allowed to say that at seaworld? Well, I think when I think about
Speaker 2:38:47Walt Disney and just the staying power. Yeah. Again, it's, it reminds me a lot of true at Kathy. Things that Disney have changed obviously since Walt's time, but he made such an impression in his lessons were so well taught that even through continued innovation and improvement on the original idea, um, you know, his legacy is carried on in that one. Okay.
Speaker 3:39:11Culture. So active that he helped create. Exactly, exactly. Okay. Star wars or Harry Potter this. This may be the biggest question out there for people, but star wars or Harry Potter? Harry Potter. I'm not much. I have to say I'm not much of a science fiction person. I don't even think I've seen all the star wars movies were. We'll edit that out, which is tough to have three boys. I was gonna say, how did you, how did you make this? Somehow avoided that, but I saw all the Harry Potter movies with them. Okay. Now I have three daughters, so in my house, this is the most important question. Okay. Broadway or rock and roll.
Speaker 2:39:47It's just a tough one.
Speaker 3:39:50Well, in my house it would be rock and roll, but I liked Broadway. Not now. Do you have a favorite show? Mamma Mia. Okay. Yeah, my wife is a huge. She loves Mamma Mia. If I did not like Broadway, I could not live in my house. I'm sure they will throw me out. So just your heart. Okay. Our next segment, our last one is a simple one, but since we believe that each of us is on this journey, this leadership journey, uh, we like to ask this question. We tell us about a favorite leader or maybe a life quote or something that you kind of tried to live by. You know, I have a brand new in rocky. Okay, great.
Speaker 2:40:26Um, that I have given so much thought to just in the last few days, but I was actually watching the funeral of Barbara Bush, former first lady who passed away last week and no, that's dating this.
Speaker 3:40:39Yeah, but that
Speaker 2:40:41was in watching that funeral, you know, you learn so much about funerals. I think that's something we learned as we get older that attending funerals, p, it's not just a respect thing, but you learn so much. Right. And this one, Barbara Boucher, somebody I've always thought a lot off me too, but it was watching that funeral and her biographer said something and it was almost in passing. He said she lived a consequential life and that just really stuck me in the soul of the consequential light. This was a woman by the way, he would tell you if she were here, she never earned a paycheck but lived a consequential life and it made me stopping the dean. What are you doing in this season of life to live a consequential lie?
Speaker 3:41:29One of my, one of my mentors who I would consider to be kind of the guy, been there through my entire life, he numbers his counselors Saturdays and so he knows. He goes, if I lived to be an average length, I have this many Saturdays left. He's in his mid sixties and so his question is, is this purpose? Is this thing I'm going to do? Is it worth this Saturday? Because I've never been. To me that's always struck, but kind of along the same line. You. Well Dan, I want to thank you so much for being on a survivor's journey. This show is all about stories of great leadership and how people get there and I really want to be clear with you. You've been very important in my journey and on the journey of Chick Fil A. I think we as a chain, and I know you're a humble person, but as a chain, we have a lot to really be grateful to you for. You've done a tremendous job of picking great talent, people with a heart to serve and it. It's definitely helped us become what we are today. At this point I normally tell people to run out and buy your book. It's my pleasure. Bye Dan Turner. But it's done well enough to where I had to kind of bid outbid somebody to get the book. So can you tell us a little bit about maybe a reprint or where we're going with that?
Speaker 2:42:48Well, it did, it did sell out three times and it was really interesting. And uh, I am changing publishers and so we're in that process right now. So look for it in 2019. Hopefully the first part. I can't make a commitment yet, but I'm look for it. Uh, and hopefully we'll have that out there and um, people will be able to easily access it. Now, if I happen to come for a speaking event, I actually have some paperback copies that are part of my speaking event. So if you want me to come for a speaking event, I'll bring books with me. Yes. And, and, and is there somebody that needed to contact or any way to get ahold of you to speak or. Sure. Dan Turner Dot com is where you can reach out to me directly or I'm on twitter at Dan Turner. That's d e a n n Turner on Instagram at Dan Turner or Facebook arthropod author page, the awesome.
Speaker 3:43:40Thank you so much and I can tell you even if you do have to outbid somebody, it's worthwhile. You know, you can wait til 2019, but I know in today's society we don't like to wait, so if you have to outbid, that's okay too. But again, I just want to thank you so much for your time, Dan. Thank you rocky, and thanks for all you do to serve chick filet. You've been a great example of the things that I write about and it's my pleasure and it has been my pleasure to be with you today. It's my pleasure to have you. Thank you.
Speaker 1:44:05Well, I want you to check out our website. The website is called a survivor's journey and of course we want you to tell your friends to subscribe to the podcast. Yes, please. And here, so you can be here each week and not miss a single episode of what Rocky Scott, you're on the journey, the journey. That's. I agree with that 100 percent at Jay. Thank you. Until next time, until next time, I'm rocky desteffano and together we are going to make some stories better. Really want to thank you for listening today and coming along on this journey.