To most of us, 16 is just another number, but for Mark Miller – Chick-fil-A’s Vice President of training and development – the number 16 is special. Mark was hired by Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy as the 16th member of the chicken chain’s corporate staff.
When asked about Cathy, Miller recalls that Truett was both a tremendous leader and a special person in his life.
“From the very beginning, since 1967, Truett thought leadership was important," Miller recalled.
Miller has done just about every job at the restaurant level at Chick-fil-A. He credits that diverse experience with being part of why he loves shaping and developing the company’s leadership culture and structure.
He told Christian Headlines, “I've done just about everything within Chick-Fil-A. I started in the mailroom [and] I can't believe that I've had the privilege of sitting around the table with Truett Cathy."
From busboy to holding a corporate position, there is nothing about his time at Chick-fil-A that Miller would change, the training and development leader shared.
Loyal customers may not be surprised to learn how much Chick-fil-A invests in leadership development, but for the first-time visitor or the occasional customer, it may come as quite a shock.
Miller is clear that although he heads-up leadership development, it takes a team of people to make Chick-Fil-A one of America's top fast-food restaurants.
“We started over 20 years ago trying to figure out what the leadership definition should be for us,” Miller said of the company.
Miller wants customers to know that one of the reasons why Chick-Fil-A is committed to leadership development is because their employees matter to them.
It is widely known and documented that Chick-Fil-A has one of the best employee retention ratings in the country, and although they have great dipping sauces, one cannot help but walk away from Miller knowing that one of the secret sauces of Chick-Fil-A is the work that takes place behind the scenes in training their employees to be leaders.
When asked why he believes the employee retention rate is so good, Miller responded quickly.
“We do it the old fashion way,” he asserted. “We talk to people and we talk to them a lot,” he added.
Watch the full interview with Miller here.
Photo courtesy: Maina Mwaura