On the day of the launch of my first book, It’s My Pleasure: The Impact of Extraordinary Talent and a Compelling Culture, I have reflected on this most often asked question.
During the last few months before Truett Cathy became ill in late 2013, I met with him in his office several times. Each time I visited, Truett would wag his finger and say, “Now don’t forget — it’s all about the people, Dee Ann. People decisions are the most important decisions we make.” At first, I thought Truett did not realize that he had said the same thing to me only the month before. But soon I understood. Truett knew that he had told me before, however, he did not want me to forget.
That’s why I wrote the book: so we would not forget and so that others would know. I did not want those of us who knew Truett to ever forget the timeless principles he taught us about how to identify, select and grow talent. I did not want us to forget how hard he worked to create a phenomenal culture and the responsibility we have to grow, nurture and strengthen it. In addition, I wanted the Chick-fil-A Operators, team members and corporate staff who would never meet Truett to know and understand how Chick-fil-A came to be what it is today.
During all difficult seasons in my life, writing has been a way of navigating the challenge, grief or disappointment. My Dad had recently died and so had Truett. Both were powerful influences in my business career. So I began pouring my heart out on paper and the result was what some have called my “love letter” to Chick-fil-A. Other than my immediate family, Truett was the single biggest influence on my adult life. By the time I came to work at Chick-fil-A, I had already chosen my Master, but there is no doubt that my relationship with Christ was strengthened by the people I came to know and learn from at Chick-fil-A and the example I saw in Truett. I had also already selected my mate, but as newlyweds then and 30 years later now, we certainly grew from all the influences at Chick-fil-A. I did discover my mission at Chick-fil-A, which is to help others find their path.
As I wrote, I never thought much about promoting the book through book trailers, social media, speaking engagements, interviews and book signings. Those things are not as important to me as the work itself. It wasn’t about all those things. I only wanted to be sure that I and all the others at Chick-fil-A never forgot and that people who never met Truett will know –will know what he did, how he did it and most importantly why he did it. He stayed on his mission without wavering for 93 years. That mission was about using his chicken restaurant business to impact the lives of others. And that he did, millions of times over.
So to all my friends, I hope that you will read my love letter: It’s My Pleasure and that through it you can glean a little of the wisdom that I have been given over the past 30 years. May it help guide you on your own path and I hope that lives will be impacted through the teaching and the learning of these timeless principles. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your generous support of me on this journey.