Scale: Balancing Quality and Growth

Scale: Balancing Quality and Growth

Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected. - Steve Jobs

I heard a story recently from a consultant that worked with Chick-Fil-A corporate a few years ago. I’m a fan of CFA, I worked as an operations director of high volume store when I lived in Chicago, and I think they have awesome food and an awesome culture.

So this story shouldn’t be surprising.

A number of years ago, CFA was dealing with an up-and-coming competitor that was encroaching on their marketspace: Boston Market. This was before CFA was the juggernaut that it is in 2018. They were strong and stable but not at the same scale.

Truett Cathy and his board of directors were at the head of the ship trying to figure out what to do. An army of consultants, researchers, marketers, and corporate strategist had been laying out ideas but none of them seemed to be working.

There was an insistence from these people that Chick-Fil-A needed to grow - that is, they needed to build more stores. And in order to do that, they would need to borrow heavily or change their franchise model - just like all the other large companies out there.

This had been going on for some time, and after an especially long and difficult discussion, Truett Cathy pounded the desk hard and said:

‘We don’t need to worry about getting bigger, we need to worry about getting better. If we get better, our customers will demand we get bigger.’

Any time a leader firmly and confidently reminds people of the core mission and vision of the company, it inspires awe.

There have been many, many, many companies who forget the basic tenant that the quality of a product or service is the core of a business. The marketing, operations, R&D - whatever - all of that supports the core. When those are substituted for the core, problems start to arise. Maybe short term the profits rise, but ultimately the business collapses when upholding the highest quality standards for your product.

Don’t jeopardize the health of your organization by compromising your product or service.

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