It’s All About Influence

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My son James sitting at work, while not at work.

Today was an interesting day all around.  I mean that in a good way.  Normally James and I share a ride to work at Chick-fil-A on Fridays and other days when our shifts match up.  On Friday’s however, James needs to be up extra early, since I open the store.  He doesn’t start till 7 usually.  This means he is at the store for about an hour before he clocks in.  This week, however, he was scheduled for two 7 to 3 shifts on the same days that I was scheduled open to 2.  This means yesterday and today, James had to be up with me early.

We had a little glitch when I got to work this morning, but I asked James to clock in early and we got through that.  I have been very proud of James at work.  He is a hard worker and will do whatever you ask him to do.

Our owner/operator’s vision for our store is “to be the most influential business in Augusta County.”  That is a big vision.  We see the results of that vision every day.  He has built a great team with some great restaurant leaders and team leaders.  One of our restaurant leaders talks a lot about our business being about more than chicken and waffle fries.  There are many businesses (and I’ve worked for a few) that the bottom line is how much money is made at the end of the day.  I am proud to work for a company that is about more than that – and it shows in our interactions with people every day.  Over my 4-1/2 years with Chick-fil-A of Waynesboro, I have had the opportunity to get to know many of our regulars.  Some of them order the same thing every day.  For those I ask, “Will it be the usual today?”  It’s fun to get to know people and interact with them.  That is one of my favorite parts of working there.  When I first started, I spent a great deal of time in the dining room, waiting on our guests.  It was always cool to bring a balloon to a child and see their faces light up.  I don’t get to do that as often, but it is still cool to see and when that happens I think about how much I love working for an organization like Chick-fil-A of Waynesboro.

It’s all about influence.  We have made it our goal to be the most influential business in Augusta County.  Our owner’s personal vision is to develop leaders to impact the places where they serve.  I know the last 4-1/2 years have been a great leadership experience for me.

This afternoon something happened that made my day.  I ended up leading today – it wasn’t my turn, but no one else was available during the morning hours…so as soon as it slowed down enough at two, I and the restaurant leader on duty – did our daily recap.  After picking up my stuff and clocking out, I moved to the back of the restaurant to play on my iPad until James’ shift was over.  He was working hard trying to get out by 3, but his job was restocking and it took him a while to finish up.  At one point I looked up and saw him helping a guest with a refresh on their beverage.  This was one of the reasons that it took him so long, because he was still focused on the guests needs, all the while trying to finish up his assigned tasks.

I didn’t think much of it, until a few minutes later one of our regulars came over to me.  He recognized me, because I have waited on him many times and know him by name.  He proceeded to tell me about a young man who had just helped him.  He said his name was James, but he didn’t know his last name.  He said that James was headed to the back to put away some boxes, but saw Frank (our guest,) put down the boxes and helped him with his refresh.  This really impressed Frank enough to come talk to me.  I was sitting there, sipping on our new Frosted Coffee.  I added chocolate syrup to it – tastes like a mocha. He let me know that people are so used to telling managers when someone or an organization does something wrong, but he believed that good behavior should be noticed and appreciated as well.

This warmed my heart in two ways I told him.  First it was good to hear a positive comment about one of our team members.  Then I proceeded to tell him that it made it especially satisfying because that young man who served him was my son.  It made me proud to be James’ dad at that moment. I am proud of the young man that James has become and I have even heard others say how much James has come out of his shell over the last year.

I love thinking that young people can have a positive influence on our world.  We have some of the best young people in Augusta County working for us.  We also have great older people working for us as well.  It warms my heart to hear stories of young men and women making a difference – impacting the places that they serve – being people of influence.  Keep it up team!  There are days we all feel as if we are not making a difference at all.  But keep your head up.  Remember the Franks, Freds, Myrtles, Pauls and others who come into our restaurant – because we are about more than chicken and waffle fries.  We are about being people of influence.

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