A few years ago my son Jonathan, while a senior in high school, was in a leadership development program at our church. One of the assignments in this program was to interview someone they considered a leader. Some in the class chose a parent, a successful business person in the church or someone they looked up to at school or in their neighborhood. Jonathan, however, declared to the entire class that he was going to interview Truett Cathy (author of Better to Build Boys than Mend Men) the owner and founder of the Chick fil A restaurants. What makes this declaration so interesting is the fact he had never met Mr. Cathy nor did he know anyone in his family. My son’s belief was based solely on him hearing me talk about a friend of mine who knew Mr. Cathy quite well.
Lesson #1—Bold statements and great faith can overcome many obstacles! Thanks to my good friend Gary Gettis, Jonathan was able to interview Mr. Cathy. I recently found his notes from that interview and would like to share the bullet points and takeaways.
- Truett’s first and last comments were both quoting Proverbs 22:1 “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.” He stressed the importance of protecting your name and your reputation.
- Be a good follower—This was mentioned twice also. “A good leader has to be able to take orders as well as give orders.”
- Set a good example not only in what you say but in what you do.
- Know when to be firm and when to be lenient.
- Hindsight is better than foresight. Learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others.
- Truett quoted from the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill: “what you can conceive, you can achieve”.
- Mr. Cathy said (twice) he is still growing and learning as a leader. At the time of this interview Mr. Cathy was 89 years old.
- Character is more valuable than experience.
- Give encouragement and respect to all individuals.
- Select a business that you can put your heart and soul into.
- The Bible is a blueprint for life. Honor God with your successes. You have to want to be successful. Read scripture and obey scripture.
- Treat your customers the way you want to be treated.
Mr. Cathy granted this interview with a 17 year old high school senior, not because of my friend, but because he loves young people and wants to help them be successful in life as well. Thank you, Truett Cathy for investing in my son. Truett has written several other books you may be interested in such as: How Did You Do It, Truett? and Wealth Is It Worth It.