a good word from my friend

This post originally published on Monday, April 7, 2014 at


Yesterday, I completed Robert McKee’s Story Seminar. It’s a story boot camp of sorts – 32 hours of teaching in four days… including a 6 hour, scene by scene screening of Casablanca! The audience consisted of about 200 writers for screen, stage and page, along with several film and TV producers.

As you can imagine, 32 hours of content sparked a lot of ideas. So, you can expect several posts in the coming weeks about story. Today, I want to share a few thoughts on why leaders should care about story.

Story Connects – I don’t pretend to understand this phenomenon completely – it’s almost like magic. Any leader who’s used story well in the past understands this. When you and I share facts, we connect with a fraction of our audience. However, a story, well told, can have vast appeal.

Story Penetrates – Much of the communication we receive in our lives just barely pierces the surface of our consciousness. Stories have the potential to embed themselves in our heart and mind. They can cut to the core of who we are and what we believe.

Story Transports – As leaders, we’re always in the process of creating the future… that’s our job! We’re forever working to convince people they should go with us to that preferred future. Story is the perfect vehicle to take people to the future we’ve imagined. Story is a leader’s time machine!

Story Illustrates – When we have an idea, it’s always clear in our mind. That’s not always true for those who listen to our insight. Concepts can often confuse. A story can turn our ideas into tangible examples others can understand.

Story Personalizes – People look for themselves in our stories. They want to make the story their own. A story can serve as a mirror for the listener. That’s one reason a story resonates with people. It can be a reflection of their hopes, dreams and fears.

Story Illuminates – There are many thoughts, feelings, emotions and experiences in life that are hard to understand. Stories can shine a light on truth and help people make sense of life.

Story Inspires – Stories can be used to call out the best in people. When a story represents ideals and values we aspire to, we can be moved by the characters to continue our pursuit. It’s why we love the hero or heroine – we want to be more like them.

Story Sticks – I’m always amazed when someone says, “Hey, I heard you speak 30 years ago.” That’s a real shocker. Then, even more amazing, they sometimes add, “I remember the story you told about ______________.” They rarely remember my outline, just the story!

Great leaders have always understood the power of story. Go back as far as you’d like in history – whether it was Alexander the Great visiting the tents of the injured so he could learn their stories of bravery to share with the other troops; or Jesus telling the story of the lost sheep. Every leader should be a student of story.

I’ve been trying to master the art of story for years. This week has tempered my expectations a bit. I’m not sure story can be mastered; however, like any art form, it can be pursued. That’s exactly what I plan to do.

How could story help you lead at a higher level?

mark miller

Mark Miller, Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness for Chick-fil-A, believes that leadership is not something that’s exclusive; within the grasp of an elite few, but beyond the reach of everyone else.  In the tenth anniversary edition of The Secret, Miller reminds readers of a seemingly contradictory concept: to lead is to serve. With more than 600,000 books in print, Mark has been surprised by the response and delighted to serve leaders through his writing.

The 10th anniversary edition of The Secret will be released September 2, 2014.





secret sauce


What is your “secret sauce”?

After studying executive leadership for ten years, I feel that the best run organizations in the world all have a “secret sauce”.  As a matter of fact, they all have the same “secret sauce”.

I am sure many answers come to mind.  Talent, skills, size, wealth and education all come to mind when discussing competitive advantage of executives and organizations.

An executive teams ability to build relationships of trust is the “secret sauce”.  Period!








One of the most important decisions you will make is to decide where you will place your hope.

Hope is the beginning of trust. As you answer the question of hope, you can begin to trust those around you.

The scriptures below describe a process of hope. There seems to be three steps.

  1. Trials and troubles will give us patient endurance.
  2. Patient endurance will develop a mature character.
  3. Mature character produces a steady hope.

Hope that will never disappoint us.

Romans 5: 3-4

Our trials and troubles will give us patient endurance; patient endurance will develop a mature character, and a mature character produces a steady hope, a hope that will never disappoint us.

Proverbs 13:12

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a hope fulfilled is a tree of life.


10:19-24 So by virtue of the blood of Jesus, you and I, my brothers, may now have courage to enter the holy of holies by way of the one who died and is yet alive, who has made for us a holy means of entry by himself passing through the curtain, that is, his own human nature. Further, since we have a great High Priest set over the household of God, let us draw near with true hearts and fullest confidence, knowing that our inmost souls have been purified by the sprinkling of his blood just as our bodies are cleansed by the washing of clean water. In this confidence let us hold on to the hope that we profess without the slightest hesitation – for he is utterly dependable – and let us think of one another and how we can encourage each other to love and do good deeds.


1:12 For I know the one in whom I have placed my confidence (hope), and I am perfectly certain that the work he has committed to me is safe in his hands until that day.


Hope produces peace!


4:6-7 Don’t worry over anything whatever; tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer, and the peace of God which transcends human understanding, will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus.

4:8-9 Here is a last piece of advice. If you believe in goodness and if you value the approval of God, fix your minds on the things, which are holy and right and pure and beautiful and good. Model your conduct on what you have learned from me, on what I have told you and shown you, and you will find the God of peace will be with you.


5:2 How content you will be when you recognize your need for Jesus, for the Kingdom of Heaven will be for you.







I was a little fat boy growing up.  I loved doughnuts.  I loved “hot” doughnuts.  Every Friday night my mom and dad would go to the auction house to buy used furniture, antiques and mostly junk.

They would always give me 50 cents to go across the street and get some hot doughnuts from the Richy Kreme in Maryville, Tennessee.  “Heaven on earth.”

Such a true statement!


richy kreme 2richy kreme1





our heros

On Memorial Day, we decided to honor any vet with a free meal when they visited Chick-fil-A at Johnson City Crossing.

When these men walked in they received a standing ovation by our guests and team.  Very cool!

We received this photo from a group that stopped by.


The members of Disabled America Veterans Chapter 40 from Bristol Virginia sends their thanks to Chick-fil-A at Johnson City Crossings for the kindness and respect shown to us by the associates and patrons in the store.

The meal was delicious. THANKS AGAIN

God Bless America!