When writing my last book, The Heart-Led Leader, my goal was to highlight the best heart-led companies in the world. My publisher had one piece of advice – don’t write about Southwest Airlines, Nordstrom’s or Chick-fil-A. The reason: just about every leadership and management author has written about them already. We already know how great they are. Find other great companies that nobody has heard about.
And so I did. I researched and found companies that lead with love and heart and show unprecedented bottom line results because they embrace Heart-Led Leadership. Companies such as Greenway Medical, Graebel Relocation and Ball Corporation.
Today I spoke to 200 leaders within the Restaurant Development department at Chick-fil-A in Atlanta, Georgia. Talk about preaching to the choir.
In doing research for my speech, I learned that Chick-fil-A has roughly 2,500 restaurants and 100,000 teammates (they don’t call them employees) in 45 states. Chick-fil-A’s mission is to make the world a better place and sell a few chicken sandwiches. I would say they sell more than a few – being one of the most profitable, if not the most profitable, fast food and quick service restaurant in the country. And, unlike all their competition, they are only open six days a week!
The numbers at Chick-fil-A are staggering. Numbers that are well beyond all its peers and competition. But here is the one number that blew my mind. 38,500.
I asked one of Chick-fil-A’s senior leaders, “How hard is it to become an owner/franchisee of a Chick-fil-A restaurant?”
“Very hard,” was the answer.
Pushing back for a little more explanation, I learned that Chick-fil-A receives 38,500 new applications a year for approximately a couple hundred new stores that open annually.
Have you ever heard of such numbers?
Makes we wonder, what is Chick-fil-A doing right that 38,500 people every year are banging on their door? Makes me also wonder, what do we need to be doing differently in our organizations to inspire 38,500 people to bang on our doors? Give that some thought as you are fine-tuning your goals for 2017!