Mr. Cathy went on later to write four books which focus on personal inspiration and business motivation.
#2 Hard work learned early on in life.
Serving comes natural to Mr. Cathy’s family. When he was young, in order to increase their income, his parents allowed boarders in their home (even though they were a family of nine).
During that time, Cathy learned the value of hard work as he helped his family serve those staying in their home. Now you know why Chick-fil-A strives so hard for giving out top notch customer service. He was raised to serve.
If you’ve ever said, “Thank you” in one of their restaurants, then you’ll likely get a “My pleasure” reply from one of their smiling employees.
#3 Cathy descendants are not entitled.
I went fishing last month with a friend whose family was the first to bottle Coca-cola. When asked about his kids, he informed me that one of his sons, who wants to join the family business, must work for five years outside the company before returning.
It seems that Chick-fil-A has a similar policy except Cathy descendants must work for two years outside of the family business before they can join Chick-fil-A.
Why? The descendants are taught that just because they are part of the Cathy family, doesn’t mean that they are entitled to automatically have a job with Chick-fil-A. Impressive.
They want them to experience what every other college graduate experiences: finding a job on their own.
#4 Start by managing your own household – family first.
Truett Cathy died in 2014 at the age of 93. His wife, Jeannette passed away the following year at 92. They were married for over 60 years. One of their secrets to marital success was that they were always improving their marriage and never gave up on their relationship. This was something that he frequently taught young couples.
He felt that if you can’t manage your household, you couldn’t run a business either. He believed that if you have problems in your marriage, your problems directly reflect how you run a business. He felt that family should always come before your business, and if you do not take care of your family, your business suffers.
#5 NEVER give up. Perseverance is the key.
After experiencing success with his first restaurant, Mr. Cathy took a huge risk and opened a second location which burned down. Did he quit? No. He persevered and grilled under tents that he put up in the parking lot next door until he was able to pay for repairs.
When you look at great leaders, whether they are leading a football team or a Fortune 500 company, the one quality that most have in common is perseverance.
#6 Truett Cathy – Sunday school teacher
How many people that become net worth billionaires would continue to teach Sunday school classes? Truett Cathy not only did but also continued teaching for over 50 years.
Cathy tells a story of once while teaching, he asked his class, “How many of you would like to have one million dollars?” As you can imagine, everyone raised their hands.
Then he explained, “Let me tell you something better than that—to protect your reputation, to establish a good name and to be consistent about it.”
One curious boy asked, “Suppose you already have a good reputation?”
Cathy replied, “A reputation is something that you have to earn every day. It’s not something that you just have and that you keep automatically.”
One of the early Bible verses he memorized for school taught him this lesson:
Proverbs 22:1 “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.”
Bottom line: What we say is important, but what we do is more important.