A Different Kind of Leader and Company

Mar 15, 2004

By George Anderson

Dan Cathy isn’t your typical president of a $1.5 billion fast food business.

You probably won’t find many of his peers spending the night before a new store opens camping out in the parking lot with customers who are queuing up to be one of the first
100 through the door in the hope of winning free chicken sandwiches for a year.

When the store opens, he’s talking to customers, cleaning tables and taking out the trash.

No, there isn’t anything typically corporate America about Dan Cathy or his company, Chick-fil-A.

“Most company presidents don’t really have a lot of fun,” Mr. Cathy told the Dayton Business Journal. “They’re burdened with a lot of problems: They have problems with
sales, problems with people, problems with shareholders and stock analysts or whatever.”

Moderator’s Comment: What’s the secret of his and his company’s success?

“It’s just about connecting with people, being real with them and building relationships,” he said.

What lessons can other business leaders learn from Dan Cathy?

Say what you mean. Do what you say. Always. George
Anderson – Moderator

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