Five takeaways from my week with Chick-fil-A’ Executive Buck McCabe

I had the privilege of spending the last week of October with Buck McCabe, Chick-fil-A’s Executive VP and CFO. Buck is a storyteller, and I’d like to highlight five things that really stood out for me from the stories he shared during our time together.

Prayer was vital to Jesus as he walked the earth and frequently withdrew to spend time in God’s presence, even at the moment of his greatest adversity in the Garden of Gethsemane he prayed to His Father. Buck shared about the importance of prayer to the Chick-fil-A employees, as he recounted how key leaders of the executive team would often gather together and get on their knees during times when they were about to make key decisions that would influence thousands of lives. And, how, with all of Chick-fil-A’s successes and accomplishments, they still haven’t lost site of the importance of allowing God to influence the decisions that they make.

The second thing I was reminded of was the truth found in Proverbs 22:1: “A good name is more desirable than great riches.” Buck shared the story of Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy, holding onto this verse his entire life, starting at a young age, and throughout his years in business. Proverbs also says that integrity can be our shield (2:7), and that we can let our actions speak for who we are. In order to have a strong reputation in today’s world that is so cynical towards Christianity, you have to have incredible integrity, and Chick-fil-A has successfully accomplished this.

A third takeaway for me was the effective leadership strategy of modeling the things that matter the most to you in your life. One of the first stops on our trip was to the new Manhattan Chick-fil-A, I was impressed by the hundreds of people standing around as I spoke with the store manager. During our conversation he briefly stopped to pick up a napkin he saw on the floor. It was noteworthy to me and I appreciated it. Then, the next day in one of Buck’s discussions he shared how Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A’s current President and COO, makes it a habit to pick up a piece of trash in between where he parks his car at work, and the entrance door. While Cathy has never spoken about it, it is his habit and reflects on how cleanliness and taking a part to maintaining it in the parking lot is important. I couldn’t help but connect the behavior of this new store manager to the example of his leader who consistently does something that is important to him.

Fourthly, one of the stories I enjoyed the most reminded me how God often uses adversity and mistakes to help shape us for future successes. There was only one year in Chick-fil-A’s history where their same store sales decreased from previous years. During that year, in 1982, while the company was in great financial stress, Buck describes how the leadership team ventured off to a rigorous off-site meeting where they developed their corporate purpose statement which has served as a guiding principal for the company ever since, and helped them turn things around. It’s amazing how one year of adversity 33 years ago helped shape their current day-to-day success.

A final lesson for me was the reminder that when our values are Biblically-based we can possess incredible confidence. It was inspiring to me how non-negotiable certain aspects of Chick-fil-A’s Biblical worldview business principals are, which are completely distinct from the fast-food industry. When asked about pressure to not remain closed on Sundays, or temptation to reduce the significant amount of money they give away from their profits annually, Buck would simply state, “That’s not who we are, and that’s not what we are about.”


Since 1954, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has been challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful medium of athletics to impact the world for Jesus Christ. FCA focuses on serving local communities by equipping, empowering and encouraging people to make a difference for Christ – to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.

More information can be found at FCA.org.


Since 1954, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has been challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful medium of athletics to impact the world for Jesus Christ. FCA focuses on serving local communities by equipping, empowering and encouraging people to make a difference for Christ – to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.

More information can be found at FCA.org.