But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” - 1 Peter 1:15-16 (NKJV)
Chick-fil-A Servant Spirit: In Theory
Awhile ago, I read an issue of In Touch, the magazine produced by Dr. Charles Stanley’s church, First Baptist Atlanta. The publication featured an article titled: “Dan Cathy: Leading the Next Generation at Chick-fil-A.” The article mentioned that Mr. Cathy “spends most of his time traveling, helping with grand openings for new franchises, staying attuned to customers’ needs, and modeling a servant spirit for the employees.”
The fact that Chick-fil-A includes “modeling a servant spirit for employees” as a part of their corporate culture and one of their most critical business imperatives speaks volumes for their focus on servant leadership. In the article, Dan states:
God wants to use the local church to make a difference. There are so many negative forces going on in our society. This is a fallen culture that we live in…but if we’ll acknowledge God in all our ways, then not only for us as a family and as a business but even for us all as a nation, God will continue to direct our paths.
Chick-fil-A Servant Spirit: In Practice
I had the unique opportunity to experience Dan Cathy’s humble attitude and servant leadership approach in person when I recently had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with him at a Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce luncheon where he was the keynote speaker.
During his powerful presentation, he shared a number of interesting items and artifacts and explained how each symbolized specific leadership principles. One of these articles was a shoe brush. Dan explained how it was used for brushing and shining shoes, but, for him, it also represented the importance of remaining a humble servant and reminded him of how Jesus washed the feet of His disciples.
Well, after explaining this, Dan asked a gentleman from the audience to come and stand beside him. And to our utter amazement, Dan got on his knees and actually rolled up the cuffs of the man’s trousers and brushed and shined his shoes! When he finished, he pulled the cuffs back down, stood up, and gave the man a hug! Dan explained that this is the type of servant attitude that he tries to impart to his employees. Dan’s actions transcended his words in an extraordinary way and left an affirmative, indelible impression that I will never forget.
We must always pray for spiritual discernment in creating a corporate culture that is not only authentic, but also honors God. You should be so much of a positive influence on others that their lives should be enhanced as a result of being under your leadership and authority. I believe the definition of an exceptional leader is one who serves and enhances the lives of others by moving them closer to God and the achievement of their spiritual calling and purpose. If you can create a culture to facilitate this, then you are one step closer to truly transforming the workplace and marketplace.