The Leadership of Erik DeVriendt

I was on hand for the dedication of the newest Chick-fil-A restaurant in the world. It opens today in Richmond, Virginia.

After a family-style meal at a local restaurant, my good friend and owner of the new Chick-fil-A store, Erik DeVriendt, delivered a simple, caring, and important keynote address to his 70 new employees.

It had everything to do with brand development. But, Erik didn't use a single phrase like "brand development," and he hardly talked about "business stuff" at all.

Instead, he talked about people.

He talked about the purpose of his restaurant.

He talked about the story his team would be writing.

He talked about why they are going to do what they do.

Congratulations! You were chosen to be here. I'm here to serve you. Whether you work here for several weeks or the next 40 years, my job is to make sure you feel like you were a part of something meaningful. You're here to create remarkable experiences for our guests. Delight everyone that comes to our stores: our vendors, our team members, and our guests. Invest in the success of this store and our mission. This requires that you take a long-term view. Pioneer in the way you serve people. Take chances in going over the top to serve people. I'll protect and correct you when you need it. Do whatever you can to make our restaurant feel like home to our guests. Be yourself, and use this opportunity to become the best version of yourself.

Erik's entire speech was off the cuff and from the heart. You can't do that unless you live and breath your vision.

Whoever tells the stories shapes the culture.

Erik told the story well, and he invited everyone there to be a part of it with him. Think they'll do well?

What's the culture like where you work? Brands start with how your people create those experiences for your clients. I hope you're telling a good story to cultivate the results you want.

"Delight, invest, pioneer."


posted by:
Brody Bond
posted in:
The Weekly Idea

8 Responses to The Leadership of Erik DeVriendt

  1. jef weaver

    Excellent report and excellent execution from Erik. Thanks Brody

    • brody

      Thanks. Wish you could have been there. I took a video (it's long) and will have up on YouTube here soon enough.

  2. Kyle Vitasek

    Love it! One must become a great player in order to be able to cach. Sounds like Erik has been playing a high level for quite some time, and knows now how to coach up those who are beginners. Thanks for sharing.

    • brody

      Thanks, Kyle. Do you know Erik? You might have met at JMU.

  3. Nik

    I thought the winner of the bet got a Hardees.

  4. Kyle Vitasek

    Face looks familiar, but I don't think so. What's this bet Nik speaks of?

  5. Tom Smyth

    That's good leadership. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Ashlee

    Great story! Thanks for sharing.


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