The Meek School of Journalism and New Media

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Posts Tagged ‘business’

Chick-fil-A CEO says your business will become stagnant if you stop failing and being nervous

Posted on: April 27th, 2018 by ldrucker

Chick-fil-A Chairman and CEO Dan Cathy spoke this week inside the Ole Miss Pavilion as part of the Leadership Luncheon series held each spring semester. It is sponsored in part by the Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

Ole Miss graduate and Chick-fil-A Director of Corporate Communications Reade Tidwell moderated the event, asking Cathy questions about his leadership style and business. Cathy, 65, said it’s important to learn how to learn if you want to be a good leader.

“My learning curve is as steep as it has ever been in my life right now,” he said. “… I’ve learned how to learn.”

Being a very avid reader and traveling extensively has also helped Cathy become a better learner. He said two important lessons are never think you know all there is to know, and never revel in your success.

“It’s a trap,” Cathy said. “It’s a cyclical trap of convenience, patting yourself on the back, listening to the applause of people. And if you get caught up in that, you quit learning. You quit leaning toward the future. When you’re a learner, there’s a lot of nervousness with learning. There’s a lot of failure with learning.”

Nervousness and failure are part of the learning process, Cathy said. If you stop experiencing both, your business may stagnate as well.

Chick-fil-A was started by Cathy’s father. After World War II ended, the family built a tiny restaurant in 1946 that later evolved into Chick-fil-A. In the early 1960s, Cathy’s father developed a chicken sandwich business that he renamed Chick-fil-A, and the store began popping up in shopping malls in the 1980s.

Cathy said “the malling of America” is what Amazon.com looked like 40 years ago. “It was these big, behemoth shopping malls across the country … Retailers, like ourselves, they were moving out of the downtown locations … and into these big, iconic, mammoth … shopping centers. All of this was driven by lifestyle, major shifts in consumer preferences.”

Since then, the company’s business leaders have worked to remain relevant. They recently opened another store in New York City that Cathy said he wishes his father was alive to see.

“We stayed away from Manhattan for a long time,” he said. “It’s an incredibly different environment than the suburban, one-acre parking lot in front of the Home Depot, or Lowe’s, or Walmart. Moving into Manhattan is an entirely different situation, a totally different business model, a different financial model. We were having to pay $1.2 million for about 3,000 square feet of space. That’s just rent … How much would you be willing to pay for trash pickup in Manhattan? $5,800 a month.”

Cathy said the Manhattan presence sets the stage for the brand in the international market. He said there are several things to keep in mind about business.

1. In order to be different, you have to think different. “Learn how to think different,” he said. “Take the contrarian view. Using cows for a chicken restaurant; that’s a little out there. Closing a restaurant on Sunday; that’s a little contrarian. At the time, being in shopping malls was very contrarian. Think forward. Lean forward into the future.

2. Consider the pace of change. Cathy said it’s important to align your company with trusted brands that are helping the company do things its leaders may not be able to predict will be important in the future.

3. Think cool. “Hang on to the cool factor, and don’t get dull,” he said. “The people who are leading the top, most valuable brands in the world; they are super cool brands doing super cool stuff. Think that way, act that way, and dress that way. Employers who attract the greatest and most talented people have the cool factor going on, and the talent knows they want to be aligned with cool brands.”

Billion Dollar Buyer will offer business advice May 5 at the University of Mississippi Pavilion

Posted on: May 3rd, 2017 by ldrucker

Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch? Attendees will eat free during an hour of power-packed wisdom from America’s “Billion Dollar Buyer” beginning at 11:30 a.m. May 5 in the University of Mississippi’s Pavilion.

Tilman Fertitta, chairman and CEO of Landry’s, is bringing his rare blend of sarcasm and success to the Ole Miss campus. The king of the restaurant world has become a media celebrity renowned for making tough deals. With more 500 properties and 60,000 employees, Fertitta leads a high-flying lifestyle that takes him all over the world where he makes deals regarding his restaurant, hotel and casino empire.

He’s very hands-on, closing multi-million dollar real estate transactions to buying the honey for his restaurants. He’s loves the details and art of the deal.

“It’s always just business,” for Fertitta, but for the companies that are successful in securing his favor, it’s a game-changer. “I’m in the gambling business. I know what it means to play the odds. But, at some point, you’ve got to go all in to make the deal.”

That’s  what Fertitta will do at the Pavilion. He’ll field audience questions. “I love to be in the spotlight,” Fertitta said. What better place to do it than at Ole Miss where Fertitta has strong ties?

“My family’s roots in Mississippi go back nearly 50 years, and I have a residence in Oxford,” he said. “My two oldest sons attended Ole Miss, as well as my niece, Kelli. The town Square was way ahead of its time, bringing boutique shops and interesting restaurants without losing the relaxed feel of a small Southern town. I believe in it so much that I’ve invested in it.”

Co-sponsored by the School of Business, Ole Miss Athletics and the Meek School of Journalism & New Media, Fertitta’s visit will feature Fertitta’s candor, humor and bravado, laced with four decades of wisdom in buying, selling and developing some of the premiere properties in the country. Don’t miss his nuggets of wisdom that will challenge even the brightest mind to go for the jackpot.

Admission to the event is free, and the first 1,000 attendees will get a free lunch thanks to the generosity of sponsors Renasant Bank, Evans Peter, PC and White Construction.

“I can’t wait for Ole Miss to experience Tilman’s wit and wisdom, noted Blake Tartt, III, who invited Fertitta to speak. “I’ve known Tilman since childhood and have worked with him on developments for over 30 years. I’m eager for our students and guests to see the king in the house and get a personal dose of his develop me                                                                                                        nt genius.”

Here’s a link to the UM Communications story about the event.