One Company’s Purpose Statement
Empowered Frontline Action

One essential, problematic leadership task: Ensuring every employee understands how to respond to real-time requests appropriately and aligned with your company’s priorities and values.

Increasing evidence points to a company purpose statement and supporting values as key to this dynamic. But, is the Purpose trend just hype? Many business executives may see this as a vanity exercise or perhaps even irrelevant to their business model. Yet it may be a key to consistent dispersed decision making.

In one small southern town a company’s purpose statement gave one employee clarity to resolve a real-time community crisis unlocking the deployment of lifesaving COVID vaccines, and bringing positive attention to the global brand.

As local residents found themselves sitting for hours in long lines to receive their vaccines, the town mayor knew to call on the expertise of a fellow business leader for solutions – the manager of the local Chick-fil-A. 

Called into action, the manager responded instinctively applying his operational and drive-through expertise to identify solutions to make the system flow more efficiently. His caring demeanor and instinctive response not only solved the issue but also brought praise back to his business and employees.

The local manager, Jerry Walkowiak, delivered on the purpose of Chick-fil-A, “To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A” through their core values:  

  • We’re here to serve.
  • We’re better together.
  • We are purpose-driven.
  • We pursue what’s next.

Remarkably, this global company prioritizes these values so consistently that a manager in a local restaurant far from headquarters knew without hesitation that he could and should respond to the crisis in his community. The company purpose statement empowered local management to deliver professional expertise and galvanize other volunteers around him to live out the brand promise of being a “positive influence.”

At Chick-fil-A, we’re about being the most caring company in the world.

Not only did the employee enable hundreds of neighbors to get a vaccine in minutes instead of hours, but hundreds of thousands of additional consumers gained a positive impression of Chick-fil-A when the actions of one employee reverberated across the country.

If you live in Georgia, chances are you anticipate hearing “my pleasure” with every Chick-fil-A drive-through experience. The quick service restaurant giant delivers this refrain with astonishing consistency regardless of where you go for your nugget fix. And while this everyday expression of their company values soothes impatient and hungry customers, it’s a hallmark to a deeper purpose that enables employees at all levels of the company to deliver on the brand promise in an instant when it matters most.