why not give your best?

Why not give your best?

I was reminded this morning of a statement I have heard over and over for the past 28 years.

“Why not give your best?”

Truett Cathy would address our whole company each year at our annual meeting and charge us to give our best.  He claimed it took just as much time to do poor work as it did to give your best.  Each time I would hear him say this I was challenged to give my best as I carried out my part of the tremendous growth we have experienced at Chick-fil-A over the past 30 years.

I have trained hundreds of members of my team and challenge them with the same statement.  The only difference that I encounter is most of my audience is high school and college students.  Only in the past 10 years has my teaching shifted to a professional audience.  The former audience demands an explanation of everything you ask of them and I learned what I know now from having to defend my instruction to them.  A quote from our leader did not cut it with them.  They demanded more.

I began to ask myself why should we give our best?  Why not just get by with a little bit better than those around you.  That will be enough to stand out and rise in the ranks of leadership.  Well, to out perform those around you is not saying much.  Regardless of the level of talent in the organization you serve.

Here are my reasons for giving your best:

  1. It is the right thing to do.  Why not give your best?  What reason could you give me that anything but your best would be acceptable.  I am not talking about not failing.  Failures while giving your best are valuable learning experiences and you will WIN by focusing on giving your best.
  2. Understand how leaders and champions are developed.  Championship fighters do not win the fight in the ring.  It is on the road at 6AM training and getting in championship shape that wins the fight in the ring.  Grand Slam tennis players don’t win on center court.  They win hitting 10,000 shots to improve their winning shot.  I played tennis last night with my daughter and she hit her “favorite” shot at me 25 times.  It was so hard and fast I could not even get turned to hit the ball much less get my racquet on the ball.  It took 3 years and thousands of returns for her to be able to hit that shot.  Championship golfers hit the winning shots because they spent hundreds of hours and thousands of swings on the driving range.  Many of those hours were in the dark after a tournament round spent to perfect their game and correct a shot.
  3. Understand whom you are competing against.  A person is compared to someone they have never seen when opportunity to advance comes there way.  As a leader progresses in influence, some leaders will make the mistake of thinking success is out performing those around them.  Be the best of those you can see.  This could not be further from the truth.  For those who have dreams of greatness, this must be understood quickly.  I have prepared 18 members of my team to be owners of there own Chick-fil-A franchise in the past 28 years.  The selection process is brutal, painful and long.  The end result is nothing short of becoming a member of a royal family.  The ultimate gift of becoming an owner of a Chick-fil-A restaurant awaits those chosen by Truett Cathy.  Truett supplies all the resources and training to equip those chosen to have the opportunity of their life.  To pass this incredible time of personal review, a person must be ultra prepared to be chosen from over 20,000 candidates.  As one prepares, they must understand competition against someone they have never seen and someone who has spent their every waking hour preparing for the same challenge.

Give your best and you will never be disappointed in yourself and the opportunities that come your way.