It is hard to believe it has been three years since Truett Cathy left this world on September 8, 2014. He grew up during the Great Depression, served in the US Army during World War II, and began the now famous restaurant chain in the Atlanta suburb of Hapeville in 1946. In a restaurant called the Dwarf Grill (since renamed Dwarf House), he and his brother Ben created the chicken sandwich that later became the signature menu item for Chick-Fil-A.
Gentle and Meek
I had the opportunity of working for Chick-fil-A during my high school and college years. I was privileged to go through Chick-fil-A’s leadership training and was selected to join all the Chick-fil-A operators in Nashville for their annual meeting. There in the Opryland Hotel, I saw the personal side of Truett, and he was just as gentle and meek in person as he was on the poster hanging in our local store.
A couple years later after my trip to Nashville, I visited the Chick-fil-A headquarters in Atlanta with my brother and dad. We were escorted to Truett’s office on the top floor, and he had time to visit with us for a few minutes. We were about to meet with the president of the fastest growing fast food chain! How excited we were! We talked about Truett’s hobby of collecting cars, and how we were watching an ESPN auction and saw Pistol Pete Maravich’s BMW being sold for a bargain. Truett nodded his head through the story making us feel important. When we wrapped up the story, he looked at us with a straight face and said,
“Well, do you want to see it”?
“See what?” we asked.
“Pistol Pete’s BMW. I’m the one that bought it, and it is back at my home.”
My jaw hit the floor. For a minute, I thought he was senile, but then I realized he was dead serious. What are the odds? As I left the headquarters, Truett left an indelible mark on me. He was one of a kind.
3 Lessons Truett Taught Me
As I reflect over my time I spent at Chick-fil-A, there are three lessons Truett taught me:
- Treat people better than they want to be treated.
- Be consistent.
- Stick to your convictions
1. Treat people better than they want to be treated
When Truett was a teenager delivering newspapers, he treated each customer like the most important person in the world. “I delivered each paper as if I were delivering it to the front door of the governor’s mansion,” he said. He made sure they didn’t have to dig through the bushes for their paper, and on rainy days he found a dry spot at every door.
The Golden Rule states “Do to others what you want them to do to you.” However, the Platinum Rule states, “Do to others as they would have you do unto them, not as you would have them do unto you.” Truett instilled in his employees to answer customer’s “Thank you” with “My pleasure.” That was his signature phrase, and it makes people feel important.Do to others as they would have you do unto them, not as you would have them do unto you. Click To Tweet
Intelligent Investing echoes these principles by treating each prospective and current client with compassion. Compassion is the first core value of the firm. By treating others with compassion, you not only will transform their lives, but you transform your own life as well.
2. Be consistent
Truett had a close and consistent walk with the Lord, and he was consistently faithful to his wife Jeannette for 66 years. This consistency bled to other areas of his life and work. To operate over 2,000 Chick-fil-A stores, you must have a consistent process and product.
Intelligent Investing has purchased a lot of great technology to be consistent in our process. This doesn’t mean there will never be change, but it does provide comfort to our clients as they onboard and see our consistent message throughout the firm and communication.
3. Stick to your convictions
Due to Truett’s strong religious beliefs, all of the Chick-fil-A’s are closed on Sundays to allow employees to attend church and spend time with their families. He was often ridiculed for his convictions. Many in the industry said he was foolish when other fast-food restaurants were opened an extra day and that his sales would be hurt. He stuck to his convictions, and Chick-fil-A now ranks in the top 10 fast-food restaurants with over $8 billion in sales last year.
We don’t like it when politicians change their minds and go back and forth on their viewpoints depending on the crowd they are talking to. The word hypocrite derives from the Greek hypokrisis meaning to “act on a stage or play a part.” This pretense is often described as being luke-warm, and I don’t know anyone who wants to be described that way.Intelligent Investing believes in minimizing financial stress to maximize lives. Click To Tweet
Intelligent Investing believes in minimizing financial stress to maximize lives. We do this through fee-only fiduciary wealth management. We do not offer products such as insurance and annuities, and manage our clients’ risk to increase the chances to meet their goals. Having a great financial plan is important, but if you don’t understand clients and how they feel about their investing, they won’t stick to the plan. Fear and greed never go away. This behavioral coaching is our conviction, and we know that clients and advisors left on their own often make unwise decisions.
I’ve often said that I want Intelligent Investing to become the “Chick-fil-A of Wealth Management.” That is the standard of customer service I want to live up to.Each person's destiny is not a matter of chance; it's a matter of choice. ~Truett Cathy Click To Tweet
“Each person’s destiny is not a matter of chance; it’s a matter of choice. It’s determined by what we say, what we do, and whom we trust.” ~ S. Truett Cathy