Friday, January 30, 2015

Lights Academy, Chick-Fil-A, and Business Values

My Lights Academy students were blessed to have the opportunity to learn from the owner of the local Chick-Fil-A. Don Griffin graciously shared time with the students, sharing his personal story, the Chick-Fil-A story, and practical business considerations and principles. It was an impressive time for both me and my students as we learned more about business elements of life and our world.

As I listened to Mr. Griffin, I was struck by how the Chick-Fil-A principles he shared really apply to so many other entities. This past week there has been an active discussion on Twitter using the #luthed and #sledtalk hashtags about the future of Lutheran schools and leadership within our school system. As I reflected on Mr. Griffin's sharing, it seems that we would do well to consider many of the same principles identified by Chick-Fil-A as essential to their business:

Here are the cornerstones of success for Chick-Fil-A:
  • Operational Basics: Chick-Fil-A has identified their operational basics as good food, friendliness, cleanliness, and speed of delivery. They place a constant emphasis and resources into doing these well. What are the operational basics of a school, and how are those constantly emphasized for the community?
  • Second Mile Service: If you have been into a Chick-Fil-A your can probably identify several differences in their restaurants from other similar establishments, such as bringing out food to the customer at the table, help in refreshing drinks, and the important response of "my pleasure" from their employees. What needs to happen in a school so that students, parents, and potential donors see that second mile service -- that there is something different about the school?
  • Emotional Connections: What does your school do to build emotional connections with the school community? For Chick-Fil-A, they have their company birthday party, where those who dress up as cows get free meals. They also sponsor specific Daddy/Daughter Date Nights and Family Nights. How can we better build emotional connections to Lutheran schools, and how can faith elements be incorporated into this process?
All three of these categories are ones that should result from our theology -- that God has done so much for us that we can't help but want to serve others around us in a way that points to Jesus. Perhaps it is time for all of us to re-assess our operational basics, second mile service, and emotional connections.


  1. Dave, I gotta say I LOVE this post. Excellent takeaways that are tangible, effective, and absolutely worth considering and evaluating for schools. Even the questions posed at the end of each bullet would be great for faculty meeting prompts, staff development, etc.

    Great stuff.

  2. Great stuff Dave. Thanks for some great connections to ponder in the school building!