One of the things I love about my role at Chick-fil-A is the opportunity to learn from great leaders – both inside and outside our business. I had that chance again this week. Tuesday, our senior leaders spent the day with Don Soderquist. Don is the former Vice Chairman and COO for Walmart and the founder of the Soderquist Center for Leadership and Ethics at John Brown University. Under Don's leadership, Walmart, became the world’s largest business.
How did Walmart grow from $44 million in 1972 to almost $500 billion today? Here’s Don’s list…
- Vision that was more than financial
- Culture based on values
- “Can do” Attitude
- Continual focus on communications
- Genuine respect for all people
- Commitment to customers
- Partnership with suppliers
- Openness to examine their paradigms
- Passion for excellence
- Proactive approach to change
- Continuing strategic focus
- And, most importantly, a focus on execution
That certainly looks like a formula for success but that wasn't Don's reason for sharing these things. After he shared his list, Don asked us to make a similar list. We were charged to answer the question: How has Chick-fil-A accomplished what we’ve accomplished? This started a fantastic conversation. We identified over a dozen “contributing factors” to our success to date.
Don then challenged us not to forget these things. He encouraged us to write them down and share them with new leaders. He suggested that as senior leaders, we should review the list ourselves from time to time. His simple assignment: Remember what has made you successful. His premise: The more we remember, the more likely we are to succeed.
This made me think - as leaders, what else should we remember? Here are a few ideas:
The obstacles we’ve overcome in the past - this will fuel our confidence.
The lessons we've learned in the past - hopefully, this will prevent us from repeating our mistakes.
We also need to remember our shortcomings and failures - these should serve as a reminder that we're not invincible and help keep our ego in check.
There’s power in remembering![GLS_Shield]
What are the things you need to remember that will strengthen and encourage your organization?