Aligned thinking results in aligned behavior.

Dan Cathy CEO of Chick-fil-A

Aligned Thinking


This past week, I was able to be a part of a Chick-fil-A event called Fusion. West Ridge has hosted this event for several years and I had to opportunity to help with the production at this years. Fusion was composed of several keynote speakers including President of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy.

Chick-fil-A may sell chicken, but the vision being cast by their leaders is so much more. They understand they are much more than a fast food restaurant and want to influence their community. When Dan speaks, no matter what your profession, you get something out of it.

There was one nugget (pun intended) that really grasped my attention. Dan said “Aligned thinking results in aligned behavior.

As a leader, you can take this information one of two different ways. Some leaders may see it as an excuse to surround themselves with people who don’t challenge them or think the same way they do.

A great leader sees it as an opportunity to become a better vision caster.

I believe Dan realizes in order for the leaders in his stores to build teams that make an impact, they have to instill the vision in their team members. By clearly communicating vision to a team, you can create aligned thinking. Creating aligned thinking causes your teams actions to reflect the goals of your organization. A group of people acting in unison can accomplish a lot more than a group of people with no direction. 

It makes me think of the couple of times we have had to move the piano at West Ridge. Sometimes, things go smoothly because whoever is leading the group gives the team direction as to where we are going. Sometimes, we all just lift and are stuck holding a piano with idea where we are moving it to.

Aligned thinking results in aligned behavior. Share the vision and direction well with your team. Don’t get stuck holding a piano.

Culture of Hustle

In a meeting recently, my friend and boss used the phrase “Culture of Hustle.” It was a phrase that really stood out to me and I’ve been stewing on for a couple of weeks now.

He was talking about the culture they try to develop at West Ridge. It’s the idea of getting stuff done. Having a to-do list, tackling it, and then finding something else to do.

I loved the phrase because I am a task oriented type of guy. When your top strength on strengths finder is responsibility, you tend to fall that way. I’m an achiever and I love a good hustle.

One thing I have struggled with over the past few years has to do with being within a culture of hustle. Working for WinShape Camps for Communities during the summer, you spend 9 weeks in a culture of hustle. You have a team of 23ish college students who all are working towards a common goal. Your day goes from 6am until 6pm and then you eat, sleep and do it over again.

It’s non-stop for 9 weeks and I.LOVE.IT. The team has been given core principles of what is expected of them and then told once they hit their goals, go the extra mile. Keep going. Don’t stop at meets expectations, hit exceeds expectations.

The rest of the world isn’t like that. I’ve gone back to the same job twice and worked in several ministries and struggled because others didn’t have the drive that I did. It frustrated me. In the real world, people are too often worried about their own motives. They’re driven to provide for themselves and make themselves look better. They aren’t hustling for a common goal.

I want to live in a culture of hustle with the rest of my life. Too often, we get comfortable in our positions and eventually move into coast mode. I never want to be in coast mode.

Your ministry, organization, or company could benefit greatly from instilling hustle into your team. Hustle is contagious. When we see others hustle, we want to run along side them. It can create healthy competition once your team is moving in the same direction.

The opposite is true as well. If someone on your team notices another person slacking off and nothing done about it, it gives excuses for the whole team. That’s why you have to build a “Culture of Hustle.” It has to be in the DNA of your organization. From the top leaders, to the lowest team members, you have to promote and encourage hustle.

How will you build that culture of hustle in your team and organization? I would love to talk with you about it! Email me!

Effective Message

I am getting the opportunity to practice a lot of what I have learned so far through my internship with a project I have been assigned. I am putting together and executing a communication strategy for recruiting the interns for next year at West Ridge.

This is an assignment that I love. It helps keep my busy and productive. I like to always be moving and having things to do. One of my top strengths is “Achiever.” I like to check off boxes, which is why you may hear me talk about things like Any.Do pretty frequently.

I decided one of the most powerful ways to recruit new people is by letting them hear from past interns. By giving them the ability to hear directly from us what our experience was like, we may be able to overcome some “barriers” in their own lives. I thought the best way to do this would be through video.

I contacted everyone need for the creation of the video and I thought my job was done. We were just going to get on camera and tell our story. I didn’t realize how big of a mistake I was making.

Most of the time, video interviews can be tricky. The person you are interviewing may not necessarily know the target audience. You can ask all the right questions and still not get the answers you are looking for.

With the help of the team at West Ridge, I realized to present an effective message to my audience, I needed to do the leg work. This is a concept I understand in a broader sense. For instance I got to share a little bit of my story from stage one Sunday morning. The day before I had written out everything I was going to say. I practiced it so I could better communicate what I need to tell the audience.

What we don’t realize in the moment is how forgetful we can be once we are in front of a crowd or a camera.

Effective messages aren’t something that we can just spit out. Anytime we want to get something important across, we have to examine every aspect of it. Where is the message coming from? what is the medium? Who is it going to? What are their barriers?

Effective communication skills aren’t all about giving the right answer to a question on the fly. Effective communication skills are our abilities to full comprehend the weight of our message and prepare in advance for sharing it. 

If life is a game, aren’t we all on the same team? We got air coming through our nose. That means it’s time to do something.

Kid President