Chick-Fil-A, Jimmy Collins, Steve Robinson discussed on The Remarkable Leadership Podcast
Hey everybody welcome to another episode of the remarkable leadership podcast. I'm so glad had that you're here. You're gonna be glad that you're here to before. We're done my guest. Today is steve robinson him yet but he is the author of a book called covert cows and chick-fil-a how faith cows and chicken built an iconic brand he served as the executive vice president and chief marketing officer at chick fillet from nineteen eighty one to two thousand fifteen and now he serves as a consultant and speaks to organizations and businesses about leadership development and brand strategy makes sense that we would have him on the show. Don't you think of a native of fully alabama. He is the son of a farmer like me an entrepreneur like me. He holds an associate's degree in business administration from faulkner state junior your allergy a bachelor of science in marketing from auburn and so i will not say roll tide and a master's in advertising from northwestern stephen his wife diana live in atlanta. They have two children and four grandchildren and just so i'm clear i i don't have any connection to the roll tide. People avoid so steve welcome and i'm glad i'd rather have you here today and and to talk about your books and talk about a little bit about your career and so we have a lot of people on the show are had a lot of people on the show steve. I often talk about the show. Is this either a leadership expert or an expert leader and i think in many ways as you fit both of those roles plus written this book that talks about things that happened to chick-fil-a so that will will dive into some of those stories in sort of talk about leadership as well if you're okay with zac all right so first of all. It's a long way from foley alabama. I suppose to gobert cows so tell us a little bit about the journey or the path that got you through your journey. Wow wow well i as as you mentioned i grew up with my follower working law awkward secord far and i used to travel with him when he was making sales calls to who are who are a hybrid seed corn any small manufacturing business nylon pack the story about that transition and so he was caught on retailers wholesalers to sell a nut gambling to oldham a hamburger press the last water and found things he'd trade it but he also blondel bill so i moved from working in the fields to work on basically lynching shop precent product travel rooted when he was trying to so goods kerala discovered with nothing happens elissa myself and even though i enjoyed working with my hands and how learned a lot working with my dad mechanically <hes> asana love with the whole whole process the energy asia of not just sales now i was living age of growth great brands of brand management was really boom in the seventies the eighties yup and even even the late sixties and the soy <hes> when i got out of high school i i spent a of your new zealand as an exchange to junior college one 'cause like afford to give me two more years baseball you've college and then we we all have reasons steve or anything right early i almost financial services <hes> and then i'll it's all had a major marketing and fellow lower and when i started interviewing king relevent that if i really wanted to focus on the more traditional brand <unk> mutation aspect <unk> at the council on my d he was very persuasive. I had to go get her masters. So i went to western masters tailspin journalism in advertising. My first job was texas instruments <hes> it was their first endeavor to sell direct customers the hi in hand. He'll <hes> chocolate lakers thirty. Perhaps may admit i don't remember all the numbers i know i had one a group that was trying to market these things to engineers and mathematicians and high graduate students etcetera and it was a great experience quite frankly got to do things that i did not actually studied northwest phone rings about a year into that is director after martin six leg over texas. He has an opportunity the shorter that is jones six flags on our seven years the last four years worrying land where <unk> twenty eight became the director market george and that's actually where <hes> some of the folks chick-fil-a because i was trying to pitch them on building a restaurant in the heart. Give them an opportunity bill trial because they were just a small regional. Oh ball based chain. Nobody really knew they were unless you were a ball shopper and that building work because they wanted to make money and we assure them the only way and money was so slight build a brand awareness select deal when denied taylor and about a year later. I'm sitting office pretty light naturally early evening and its c._e._o. Over <unk> who i met in previous encounter jimmy collins and he said <hes> listen. I got a great job but <hes> we we have a need to build a marketing department. We don't have a mark or would you have any interest in talking to us on the back of my mind as is i'm listening to say like yes. I know you don't have martin department are you. You're probably deal with me a year and a half ago but i i knew that by this time. I really appreciate the business <unk> for quality alex. Give the russian concept. I had been now eight years career with two companies that were publicly owned and i really i. I really saw some disconnects for the opportunity to build long term manley long-term by the customer really opportunity to build long-term brand mm-hmm image invade for sucks likes edmund soul and new owners. Were really chasing corley earnings anymore. I love the business business. I learned a lot there <hes> until jimmy yes. I kevin i have to say personally are that phone. Call is two bays. He's previously which i share my book. Nine hit made a commitment <hes> a tremendous that i quite frankly not know how we relate late. Help fund you building project church person school for kids did so some miraculous yep and and without unpacking it it was really based on a lesson. I learn from malachi three eight through twelve and i had turned. I pledge in two days before jimmy collins make a coal. May i do not escape me this smart. We connect me literally because one of the things with my background. I was not generous. <hes> over my wife was so that bat that decision that move was paired on changing move for maine and i'm committed to this day that got honor those <unk> three. It's twelve not just one phone call but socially with career that i enjoyed it so i took the interview figure okay going to drop. Six flags in one day was two or three days. Let me check this out intervened with them in august nineteen eighty and i am now interview with them in december of nineteen eighty over four months later i'm still in this process and it still and this is important story story so if you understand the story you really understand <unk> play because the hardship fillet is the founder so early december nineteen eighty. I'm sending in office outlook true for our conversation. Is that true. I love what you got here. I think this is a great business. Potentially a great business being audited helps serve you <hes> but i kinda. What are you looking for. An ideal marketing candidate in my mother got a true. It was almost sixty. We're eating sandwich. Of course he puts it. Damn in excess long. Pause pause figure okay. It's processes about to come to the listener. That's true. I have actually no idea whatever it is. I don't wanna do it. I couldn't believe what i heard now. Remember the question is what are you looking four-nation marketing team. I have absolutely no idea what's whatever it is. I don't wanna do decide no if you come here. I want to trust you and we indigo because it's mine. It's mine expectation that you'll never have another job cabin. I've already they had four jobs in my first eight years career something and this guy. This guy's either really off his rocker or he he it really does. I don't know will turn up the ladder then he finished his comment by saying the most important susan we make here is who we invite bye joined the risks because we all train culture we hire culture will actually can we go from there because that's actually one of the things i wanted to talk about that. I think is is a big part of the book and i think people who know anything about chick-fil-a whether they like it it or not i know that there's culture there and so so you actually started to answer one of the things i wanna talk to you about which was how how does how is culture built and maintain at chick fillet starting when you got there when it was relatively small at least compared to what it is now just talk about maybe some lessons about culture building or culture maintenance year everybody from what you learned all all that time chick-fil-a <unk> particular but the first one will be obvious but i i i it's incredibly true as has a marketer as a brain builder. Culture is the soil from which you can build a great brain or culture commensurately be the sole that undermines your ability to build great brain. I walked in the culture that had some key aspects through that conciliated building chick-fil-a brain <unk> became quite frankly what it is today exceeded my expectations but the culture was the foundational use oil and it all reflect detroit. He had a long term perspective to the business. He wasn't interested in short term or salts be quite frankly wasn't motivated provided by growth. He was motivated by impacting people and giving people <unk>. I'm never seen a man more consume with helping others. I thrive <hes> he was <hes> as our commissioning was not literally by growth but he was clearly motivated by having a business that was profitable because he knew he had no platform for influence or glorifying god and what he told me ninety degree green was true. I don't want it whatever it is. I don't want to do it if he trusted. You empowered you mind thirty five years that aaa kevin he never called boldly into his office wants to say why did you do that or e screwed up and as you know from reading my book i made mistakes nine under basil the book <hes> a huge state from nineteen eighty to listen to your into my career even narrow confronted me and it was an empowering culture that emanated from him and i didn't realize when i took the job but his his philosophy about the most important decision we make yours who invited business and that is in fact what bills the culture people culture not words on paper. It's the values philosophies and the motivations of the people that you're working with and they all <unk> so let me let me focus specifically on him for a moment i learned <hes> <unk> probably the most powerful way in nineteen eighty two what major caton tick when in the middle eighty two crisis where we had interest rates eighteen twenty cent mall business stop ourselves crash. We attached flow.