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Chikfila: A Win in Organizational Culture

I absolutely love how my post ideas come to me. Wednesday May 16, 2012, I got off work and just heard the news DC Legend Chuck Brown had just passed away. I was in shock, yet all was right with the world. It was a very nice, sunny afternoon and I was riding through DC blasting Run Joe, It Don't Mean A Thang and many other hits! This is the first time in a LONG time someone passed away and there was a POSITIVE vibe in the air. I believe it was because Chuck did a superb job at sticking with what he believed he was put here to do, loved doing it, and touched and influenced millions while doing it!

Before I'd hit church for bible study that night, I decided I wanted to get a milkshake and some fries from Chik Fil A. The moment I stepped inside, I was greeted with a) "Hello sir! Welcome To Chik Fil A." b) The woman helping me gave me my receipt. "Thank You.", I said. She returns a joy-filled, "MY PLEASURE!" c) There was a buzz in this "fast food" restaurant I've never experienced before. d) Employees came around to check on the patrons dining in to see if they needed refills. e) Not only that, but they also removed their trays if they're were finished with their meals.

Excuse me if I'm boring you right now, but I'm getting my Master's in Organizational Development and Organizational Culture (OC) is the constant topic of discussion in my classes. The reason why I've chosen to talk about Chik Fil A isn't merely because I love the food, yet it's because they're OC is STREAMLINED REGARDLESS of the location you visit.

In a nutshell, OC is the way an organization does things. OC is created intentionally or unintentionally. So, it's best for the leaders of organizations, who want to be THRIVING organizations rather than SURVIVING organizations, to intentionally create a healthy OC. You have to understand; there aren't many organizations who solely produce one product. In other words, there's Mr. Tires and Tires Plus. There's Ruby Tuesday's and Friday's. There's Five Guys and Shake Shack. By now, you should understand where I'm going with this. How do you differentiate the two organizations? I mean, if you fix cars, you fix cars. If you make burgers, you make burgers. The one factor separating these organizations one from another is their OC.

OC includes the emotional and psychological climate or atmosphere. This may involve employee morale, attitudes, and levels of productivity. (West & Turner) These 3 factors all have a direct influence on the consumer. Leaders in organizations establish OC by creating symbols; Behavioral (ceremonies, rituals, customs, or traditions), Verbal (jargon, nicknames, or office slang), and Physical (art, designs, logo).

OC should be established intentionally inside out though affecting the 3 sets of customers. "What 3 sets of customers Drae?!" I'm glad you asked!

  1. Final Customers-persons who purchase the final product(s)

  2. Intermediate Customers-distributors or suppliers for the company

  3. Internal Customers-colleagues, team members, supervisors, and employees of the company

These 3 customers are ultimately affecting by the OC of a company. The reason why I said leaders of an organization should build OC inside out because how you treat your staff (Internal) manifests itself in how they treat the Intermediate and Final customers. Celebrate, invest in, pour into, build up those around you before they leave from around you.

In closing, I'm willing to bet if you ask people why they stick with one particular brand (Brand Loyalty). They won't tell you about a product. They'll tell you about an experience.

STOP creating products. START creating experiences.

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