No. 480



Soon after I went into the motivation business, back in 1970, I learned a valuable truth or lesson that has served me well for the past 35-plus years. The attitude of any organization, whether it is a business, a home, a government agency or even a civic club, always starts at the top with the leader and then filters down to all or most of the others in the organization. Now this does not happen overnight, but slowly over an extended period of time, like three to five years. Here is an example of what I'm saying. Consider the civic club that elects new officers every year. If the club elects a weak leader or president, if they don't go under, the members just wait until the next year until a stronger leader can be elected. This is why good leadership is the key to success for any organization.

Keeping this in mind, I want to tell you about a true business leader that has made a tremendous difference in the lives of thousands of people. I've talked about him before and his name is S. Truett Cathy, founder of the billion dollar Chick-fil-A* restaurant chain based in Atlanta, Ga. Truett came up the hard way during the Depression, but has gone on to build the second-largest quick-service restaurant company in America. Believe me, his 80-plus-year-old leadership handprint is there, all over the business.

One of the things that sets Truett Cathy apart from many business people in America today is his strong faith in God. The Bible says, "Remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy," and because of this he does not open his restaurants on Sunday, one of the busiest days of the week for fast-food restaurants. He has also taught a 13-year-old boys Sunday school class for more than 50 years. Truett's love and compassion for others has helped to provide a wholesome work environment for thousands of employees, and many of these employees are young people. Who could be so lucky to work for Truett Cathy's company?

But the application of Truett's faith is certainly not limited to his business. He has also established the WinShape Center Foundation that provides 14 foster homes, a summer camp for boys and girls and college scholarships. As I was writing this, I thought of another truth you might wish to ponder. It's not so important how much money you earn or accumulate, but what you do with it that money is what really counts. I might add that Truett's foster children call him "Grandpa" and he has helped 135 of them in addition to his own. To me that's a heartwarming story that has some substance and one that any successful businessperson would do well to emulate.

In addition to his business success and his philanthropy, Truett has written a number of books that will serve to continue his legacy when he is dead and gone. His most recent book is titled, "It's Better To Build Boys Than Mend Men." This book published by Looking Glass Books and released in September 2004, is available in bookstores and through online retailers nationwide. Because of his love and concern for children, here is why he wrote the book. While doing research, he found that the United States is the worlds1 leader in fatherless homes. The resulting effect on society is staggering. More than 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes, 71 percent of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes, 85 percent of youth in prison grew up in fatherless homes and 75 percent of all adolescent patients in drug treatment centers come from fatherless homes.

The book, "It's Better To Build Boys Than Mend Men," lays out a simple model for readers who desire to build their children's character into responsible adults. Truett tells stories from his experience as a father, grandfather, foster grandparent, and as a Sunday school teacher to illustrate the principles of discipline, trust, reputation, generosity, common sense, peer pressure, and family stability. He says, "Children all around us are growing up without strong positive guidance from their parents who are busy, distracted, absent, or choose to be buddies instead of parents to their children. My hope is that by reading about the experiences of some children I have known, readers will be inspired to reach out to a child nearby Ü to a child full of potential who needs the guiding hand of a wise adult."

The late Art Linkletter, television star, speaker and author of "Kids Say The Darndest Things," wrote the foreword to the book and says, "Truett Cathy is one of the extraordinary people of my generation. Our shared commitment to children and our crusade for creating positive role models for children has made our friendship significant to me. I hope parents will find great truths and much encouragement in Truett's book." Why not order your copy today?

(Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)