Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Project: Understanding Your Limitations

It has been one week since S. Truett Cathy, founder and longtime chairman of Chic-fil-A, passed away.

While many of us mourn his passing, he has left us with an astounding legacy and invaluable truths. The most prominent, I believe, is recognizing and acknowledging one’s limitations and humbly accepting them.

In Cathy’s case, he even self-deprecatingly integrated his into the scrumptious Chic-fil-A’s trademark slogan so that we may never forget it, though we never have realized it until now.

“We didn't invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich.”

Not only did they acknowledge what came first (the chicken), they also gave credit where credit is due; two vital elements to success.

1)    Know that you are always borrowing a piece of someone else’s innovation.
2)    And then pay tribute to them.

No matter how many accreditations, degrees, master degrees and Ph.D.’s you pursue and achieve, when you hang these on your office walls, you will never have an opportunity to invent the chicken. You have to understand your limitations.

Living 93 years, Cathy’s seen, implemented and endeavored to incorporate many financial and innovative practices in his business, thus influencing the general and mainstream culture. Not everything succeeded. And for every failure we may have seen come across the menu board, how many more have come across Chic-fil-A’s board of directors – but at one point or time, they learned their limitations.

So ask yourself:

1)    What’s your chicken?
2)    What’s your chicken sandwich?
3)    How are you going to market a cow to make others eat more of that chicken sandwich?
4)    What invaluable truth will be part of your company legacy?

While it seemed S. Truett Cathy ate, slept and breathed his company we, too, need to take a moment to evaluate and prioritize, we need to ask ourselves, how important is our business? Then maybe, just maybe, that chicken sandwich will taste a little better, and the chicken will not taste so bitter.

-The Green Couch Project

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