CIY celebrates the continued friendship with Allcott and shares his words on how the Kingdom of God can be glorified in the business world.
What did you learn about business from your ministry at CIY?
I worked at CIY for close to 15 years and the biggest thing I learned “about business” was the value of relationships with people. People come first in everything. You can’t have a business if you don’t have relationships, and they should be the focus.
Tell us about how God led you to your next chapter in Kingdom work.
When I look at what led me to Chick-fil-A, there were three main areas that stood out. First is Leadership Development – specifically more training on how to execute Servant Leadership. I want to live my life as a Servant Leader, and Chick-fil-A is one of the best in the world at this. Second was culture – how to lead a very God- and family-centered culture. Third was Business – how to run an incredible business where people are first. When I looked at Servant Leadership, Culture and Business, I can’t think of a company that does any of those better than Chick-fil-A.
How do you turn work into Kingdom work?
For the last 15 years I’ve told students and leaders to “leverage their gifts, talents, abilities, and passions for the Kingdom,” and I feel like I’m able to do that beyond comparison with the role I have with Chick-fil-A. Every day I get to interact with and speak into the lives of the team members I work with, and I have already experienced some incredible stories. And then add on to that the impact that Chick-fil-A can have in the community. I know I have an incredible opportunity for Kingdom work.
How do you approach business challenges with a Kingdom worker mindset?
Without a doubt it is “people first.” Everything starts with the team and the people you interact with. Yes, there are business challenges every day, but when the focus is in the right place then it makes it easier. Being able to look at the big picture and some future goals of the team allows you to make decisions with much more clarity.
Explain how faith plays a role in professionalism and leadership.
It comes down to leading through Servant Leadership, in the same way that Jesus did. His focus was on the people around Him – and how He loved, cared, listened to and valued the people around Him and put them first. One of the other things I love is when you lead with Servant Leadership, it gives opportunities to talk about faith with team members and others.
Some say organization is the key to success – do you have any advice to give Kingdom workers on how to better organize workloads?
I think organization is very important and yes, you must pay attention to the details, but it starts with the way that you care for those around you. People want to be challenged, want to be invested in and want to be cared for. When you’re able to do those things, then your team will get excited about the details and how it can improve the business. It’s crazy – there are examples I have already seen where team members have gotten excited about very specific details because they know it will help improve the business – and they know that the business truly cares about them.
Your M.O. is all about customer service. Why is that so important to you and what does good customer service look like?
One of the keys of Chick-fil-A is to create “Raving Fans,” and one of those strategies is they do it with Second-Mile Service. In Matthew 5, Jesus talks about doing something that is mandated by law and then doing extra that is mandated by love. In everything I do, I want people to see how they are loved and how much we are willing to put them first. When thinking of customer service, when you do it with a genuine spirt of serving and loving others, then you’re able to see unexpected opportunities everywhere. Our president Dan Cathy says a quote of Ben Franklin’s all the time: “The handshake of the host affects the taste of the roast.” This plays out at Chick-fil-A. Yes, we want the quality of our products to be far above the rest, and we want to lead out in how we treat those that we come in contact with.
End of the day, I couldn’t think of a company that exhibits Servant Leadership more than Chick-fil-A, and I have so many stories of how I have seen it play out through the people I’ve met. It is an incredible opportunity and something I would love my life to be defined by.
How can people pray for you and your family?
As we begin this new adventure, there are many different challenges and hurdles that we have experienced and we appreciate the prayers. We’ve been so blessed over the past 15 years with love we’ve had from our CIY, Webb City schools and Carterville Christian Church family – it’s hard to say goodbye to some of the everyday relationships that we’ve had with people.