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God's Way Is Still the Best Way
By Zig Ziglar
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2007 Zig Ziglar
All rights reserved.
We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. —1 John 4:16
As the above scripture describes, the gentlemen in the next two stories have been filled with God, Who is love. God clearly abides in Truett Cathy, and the evidence that He abided in John J. Eagan is indisputable.
Truett Cathy and John J. Eagan loved the people who have worked for them in ways that astound "normal" business leaders. Both men dared to care. You ask about their motive? Simply, the love of Christ overflowing into the lives of others.
I like to say that duty makes us do things well, but love makes us do things beautifully. Read on to see how business is done beautifully.
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. —1 John 5:2
One of my favorite people and examples of a follower of Christ who has taken his faith into the marketplace is Truett Cathy and the way he has managed his successful, nationwide restaurant chain, Chick-fil-A.
Truett was raised during the Depression years and is very humble, wise, and effective in what he does. His first restaurant, The Dwarf Grill, later renamed The Dwarf House, was where he initiated biblical principles into his management style. Truett took seriously God's command to rest on the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8–10), so he did not open on Sundays.
Sometimes doing things God's way involves a degree of risk. The Bible clearly states that risk taking is to be expected as we follow Christ and Christian principles. When Truett Cathy started opening Chick-fil-A stores in shopping malls, he was told that he would have to keep his stores open on Sunday. He adamantly refused, and because his company was so successful and highly respected in the business world, the shopping malls made an exception, permitting him to close his stores on Sundays.
The shopping malls were the only locations in which Chick-fil-A stores operated the first twenty years the chain was in business. Today, there are more than thirteen hundred restaurants in thirty-seven states and Washington, D.C., and you can buy delicious Chick-fil-A sandwiches from free-standing units, drive-through outlets, and even licensed outlets in hospitals, airports, business and industrial sites, and on college campuses. None of those locations is open on Sundays ... and the Lord has blessed Truett Cathy's faithfulness. Quick Service Restaurant magazine named Chick-fil-A "Best Drive-Thru in America" four out of the past five years, and in 2006, Chick-fil-A's systemwide sales reached more than $2.275 billion—a 15.16 percent increase, extending Chick-fil-A's consecutive sales growth to thirty-nine remarkable years.
Chick-fil-A, being a private company, is able to do a variety of things with available resources. Chick-fil-A offers team members who work in the stores a one-thousand-dollar scholarship to the college of their choice based upon the recommendation of their operators. To date, they have awarded twenty thousand scholarships. Chick-fil-A also has a very low turnover of management personnel. One of the main benefits is the fact that employees can worship if they choose to and be with their families on Sundays.
Not only does Truett Cathy practice the biblical principle of resting on the Sabbath, but his life also evidences a sincere love for others, which is the fruit of the Spirit I want to highlight in this story. Truett has a love for children who for various reasons cannot live in their own homes. More than twenty-five years ago, he opened his home to them.
Because of his desire to help children, in 1984 Cathy established a charitable foundation called WinShape Centre Foundation. In addition to a college scholarship program and Camp WinShape®, the foundation also supports WinShape Homes®, which provides foster children with a stable, caring family environment. The following information from their Web page says it so well, I'm not even going to attempt to say it better!
WinShape Homes was created as a long-term foster care program for children who desperately need a caring family environment. S. Truett Cathy built this program to give children a chance to become all they can and desire to be.
Through the WinShape Homes program, a natural home environment is established, with two full-time, paid parents and up to 12 children in each foster home.
Currently, there are 12 WinShape Homes: eight in Georgia, two in Tennessee, and one each in Alabama and Brazil.
While many foster situations require children to leave to be on their own at 18, WinShape encourages and supports college attendance and a continued relationship with their parents and family. Children are encouraged by their foster parents and by WinShape to consider their foster home their true, permanent home, to return to on weekends and vacations.
WinShape Homes also benefits from the Chick-fil-A® Bowl, noted as the leading bowl in charitable giving. WinShape has received nearly $1 million since becoming a Chick-fil-A Bowl beneficiary in 1998.
Truett Cathy invests his time, his money, and his love in helping orphans and foster children become all they can be. He also takes great pleasure in having his immediate family involved in his business. His wife has been a steady supporter and influence in his life and his sons work with him as well. Dan, his oldest son, is now president and COO of the company.
Truett Cathy follows biblical principles in every area of his life, and his son Dan does the same thing. I've had the privilege of speaking to their organization several times, and my wife and I regularly enjoy Chick-fil-A sandwiches and other goodies. We are consistently impressed with the courtesy and efficiency of the young men and women who work there. Their gratitude for their jobs is apparent. Chick-fil-A is an equal opportunity, biblically based company that contributes to all of society.
Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of meeting Truett Cathy knows he has a heart that is bigger than Texas. May we all desire and seek to be more and more like Jesus Christ, so that when people see us, they'll see the same kind of love that Truett Cathy has for Christ and for others.
John J. Eagan
In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. —Matthew 7:12
John J. Eagan's American Cast Iron Pipe Company (ACIPCO) has entered into its second hundred years of existence and was named one of Fortune magazine's 100 Best Companies for eight consecutive years. The dream that began in the early 1900s was based on the decision of one man to honor his Lord and Savior and change the very bedrock upon which a successful manufacturing enterprise could be built.
John Eagan's vision to build a pipe manufacturing plant came about as a result of his God-given love for others, as demonstrated by his desire to provide sanitary conditions and clean drinking water to God's children who did not have them. A devout churchgoer and ardent practitioner of Scripture, John Eagan's original 1901 Bible sits in a glass case at the headquarters of ACIPCO in Birmingham, Alabama, opened to Matthew 7:12, the verse often called the Golden Rule: "In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets."
John was respected and admired by his workers in an era when industrial capitalists usually looked upon organized labor with contempt. But unlike some of the more notorious capitalists of his day, Eagan was a Christian, and the Holy Spirit gave him a compassionate love for others that extended to his relationships with his workers. To Eagan, life and business were to be lived by the Golden Rule, and there would be no exceptions.
Despite the racial prejudice in America prior to World War I, Eagan chose to use management information from the greatest leadership book ever written to make a difference. To this end, he devoted the last years of his young but effective life to correcting the ills of an industry and implementing a business model that still serves subsequent generations with pride, dignity, and extraordinary effectiveness.
So what is unique about a manufacturing plant built on biblical principles? One difference is that the company puts the Golden Rule into action by including the voice of labor in management decisions. Sources at ACIPCO feel that, to the best of their knowledge, its form of representational leadership is still unlike any other company in the world. At ACIPCO, the board of operatives is elected by wage earners, and this elected group in turn advises the board of management and acts as a liaison between labor and management. These two groups form the board of trustees, who then elect the board of directors.
The background of the board is as unique as the system that elects them. People from the finance community, educational community, the customer pool, and one representing local social issues are part of the varied demographic of the board of directors. In addition, since the death of John Eagan's widow, one director position alternates between his son, Bill Eagan, and his daughter, Ann Goodhue. This means that the organization focused more on the employee and business families to run the enterprise than on any preconceived plan to have the family run the operation.
As early as 1912, ACIPCO provided bathhouses with hot and cold running water for all employees. Having determined that the health and dignity of workers was important for morale and eventual efficiency, Eagan instituted systems that would promote safety, sanitary conditions, and bonus programs that would let people share in the profits. Medical services for all employees and families were available as early as 1916, and sanitary toilets were installed in the foundry in the same time period. Again I would like to remind you that this was a time in America when racial prejudice was extremely high, and John Eagan's philosophy to live and conduct his life by the Word of God brought many of these radical changes to fruition.
John Eagan's prayer life was very much at the center of everything he did. He was known to pray diligently for God's will in the lives of all races of men, which was very progressive in his day and time. Though he considered himself unworthy, he asked the Lord to use him for His glory and to make him more mindful of others than he was of himself, a trait that was readily apparent to anyone who observed how he related to the people in his life. It was John Eagan's prayer that God would direct his steps and that he would always remember that everything he had belonged to God.
He committed himself to doing what he believed God would have him do in his business. Every humanitarian act that resulted in a better work environment for the employees of ACIPCO was the result of John Eagan doing what he felt his heavenly Father would have him do to glorify Him.
John submitted to the biblical requirement of tithing (giving 10 percent of one's income to the church) at a very tender age, and he committed 100 percent of his life as a living sacrifice as John became the man God intended him to be. As a Sunday school superintendent at the Presbyterian church in 1900, John insisted on publishing in the church bulletin the names of children from their Sunday school who were on their school's honor roll. This simplest form of recognition led many of his Sunday school students to prominent leadership roles later on in the life of that church.
John's love for others continued to be evident in his interest for underprivileged kids to get a decent education amid the degradation and poverty that existed in some of those areas. All this passion from someone who never finished high school, yet a wisdom that got him invited to Washington as a prominent industrialist who could help redesign the industrial landscape of the early 1900s.
After World War I ended, the young men of color who had patriotically served their country in embarkation camps and in the navy were returning to civilian life with little or no education. This, coupled with the reorganization of the Ku Klux Klan, made for a new crusade for John Eagan, who believed strongly that all men are created equal. Correspondence between John Eagan and the prison commission in Georgia to visit one of their camps shows his deep-rooted commitment to the conditions of all of humanity. Add to this his own strategic vision for ACIPCO, which included equal treatment for all of his employees, and you understand why Eagan did not want his employees to belong to any of the organized unions of his day; they did not allow people of color to be members. He chose not to fraternize with those who condoned racism or accepted it as a necessary evil to do business. He was determined to leave a legacy that included blessings and opportunities for all of God's children.
Unlike many religions that have graced this earth, Christianity offers the biblical principle of succession planning. The methodology behind succession planning is for everyone involved in the operation to understand vision and mission and then provide the directive for who will carry which task forward. Modeling his business precepts on how Christ chose His disciples to move His message and ministry to the world, John Eagan slowly but surely instituted the same philosophy in ACIPCO. All those who were part of the family were encouraged early and often to think of the legacy of goodwill and success they could leave behind. Just like Jesus called His disciples to be made "fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19; Mark 1:17), John paid bonuses to the employees of ACIPCO and gave them more than they could ever expect from a manufacturing plant in Alabama in the 1920s. The pride that resulted in the lives of those early workers quickly spread, and ACIPCO became the place where people wanted to work.
John Eagan passed away in March 1924; thus began a legacy that would thrive for the next seven and a half decades and beyond. Today, other companies have been acquired by ACIPCO and work under Eagan's philosophy of caring for the workers. Some of the individual practices may vary by type of industry and location, but the Golden Rule of business is practiced in all of these entities.
John J. Eagan was obedient to God's Word by ensuring that his company operated on God's principles, and to this day employees of ACIPCO and its subsidiary organizations are reaping the benefits of Eagan's fruit of love.CHAPTER 2
These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. —John 15:11
Brian Buffini and Jim and Naomi Rhode lead lives that demonstrate the inward fruit they have in common—joy! Joy, delight, gladness, and elation are emotions of the Holy Spirit.
These three people marvel at the joy in their lives and want others to have the same joy and fulfillment they have. As you read about their ministries and the way their work and faith comingle, consider how sharing Jesus can become a natural extension of what you already do. Help spread the joy!
Though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory. —1 Peter 1:8
Brian Buffini is the chairman and founder of Buffini & Company, America's largest one-on-one business coaching and training company. He and his wife, Beverly, are enjoying phenomenal success in each area of life. Their business is truly outstanding, their marriage is remarkable, and they are extremely close to their six children. They've done it all by following biblical principles in their personal, family, and business lives.
I read Brian's book, Oh, By the Way ..., because I had been engaged to speak for them and I wanted to know as much as possible about their organization. I was fascinated by the concepts he brought to light, as well as the spectacular results Buffini & Company was achieving, so I called and asked if my son and I could visit his company.
Our tour of their facilities was an amazing and delightful experience. I was introduced to almost three hundred people, all of whom were busily engaged in their work. I was blown away by the spirit of the organization—the employees' enthusiasm, the love they had for one another, their commitment to what they were doing, their effectiveness as they filled their roles in such a meaningful way. When I saw all that was happening, I knew I wanted our company to be part of what they were doing. I also knew that if we applied the principles they were teaching, we would benefit.
By now I'm sure you're wondering what sets Brian Buffini apart, so I'm going to tell you. Brian is an immigrant from Ireland. He grew up the son of a house painter in Dublin, where his father and grandfather taught him many important guiding principles that he practices to this day. Of all the principles he learned, one that stood out in his mind was when his granddad would visit the job site he was working on, look at his work, and ask, "Well, would you put your name to that?" If Brian truly couldn't put his name to the work he had done, his grandfather made him do it over.
Brian has instilled the level of integrity and the core values his grandfather taught him throughout Buffini & Company, where it is evidenced by his clients' loyal support. His grandfather's principles are proudly evident today in one of the company's three core values, "Excellence is our minimum standard!"
Excerpted from God's Way Is Still the Best Way by Zig Ziglar. Copyright © 2007 Zig Ziglar. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
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