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Leadership and Details Make the Difference

Aug 18, 2007
I was fortunate to have a one-on-one conversation with Mr. Dan Cathy, President and COO of Chick-fil-A. His company is a highly respected, successful 60 year old private business.

He commented to me that his leadership journey in Chick-fil-A evolved over time. He first aspired to the 50,000 foot level, meaning complete overview and strategic management of his company.

Now he is focusing on developing the front line employee and improving the processes where food is being served. He said that managing an employee's attitude, developing a wow service skill, or doing something memorable for a customer at the point of contact makes all the difference.

Multiply that by each employee multiple times every day and that effort could result in hundreds of thousands of acts of service that would have a huge positive impact on his business' success.

He was saying that the differentiating feature of business is made at the front line and with the individual. It's in the leadership and details that make a difference. Do the little things excellently and the business grows and succeeds.

To get the details right at the point of service (or product delivery), people need to be trained and developed to deliver superior service or products.

They need to possess the right attitudes, competencies, and motivation. There is only one way that can happen. Front line employee supervisors need to possess those same or more effective qualities. Without the supervisor's managers possessing those same qualities, the downstream positive benefits quickly vanish.

Without the executives and senior executives possessing those same positive qualities, the front line employees have no chance of creating wow service or products. The success of every company begins at the top.

Dan Cathy is the leader at every level when it comes to developing people and focusing on the details that make a difference.

Where are you in your leadership development journey? Do your front line employees possess the positive attitudes, wow competencies, and know-how to make the business transaction memorable for the customer?

Are you focusing on and developing your executives, managers, and supervisors to develop those qualities in themselves so they can coach and impart them to your employees?

You see, it starts at the top. If you are not at the top, it starts with you where you are. As you develop those qualities, you will one day reach the top. Day Cathy has gotten it right.

Leadership and the details make the difference. Where are you in your personal leadership development?

If you are not operating at a level of excellence, make a new choice! A choice to change and develop the attitudes, competencies, and process focus that will ensure that you and your business continue to grow and succeed in the long-term like Chick-fil-A.
About the Author
Joe Farcht is the founder and president of Leadership Advantage, Inc. His purpose for living is to develop and coach leaders, executives, managers, and supervisors to new levels of performance and success in their work and life. He is the author of the book Building Personal Leadership: Inspirational Tools & Techniques for Work & Life. Learn more at Leadership Advantage, Inc.. Please contact Joe at joefarcht@cox.net or at 602 996-1802.
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