Dustin DiChiara Shares the Florence Chick-fil-A Story

by Pam Goetting on April 9, 2015

Dustin DiChiara of the Florence Chick-fil-A and President Adam Howard.

Dustin DiChiara of the Florence Chick-fil-A and President Adam Howard.

Servant Leadership personifies Dustin DiChiara, owner and operator of the Chick-fil-A restaurant on Houston Road in Florence.  DiChiara recently spoke to the Florence Rotary Club about his goals and management style as a leader.

DiChiara started with Chick-fil-A as a crew member in 1997, and became an owner operator in 2005.  He came to Florence in 2009 with two goals:  to grow sales, and to develop people.  “I try to set an example in all aspects:  family, health, business and community,” said DiChiara.

The Florence Chick-fil-a is in the top 15% of all stores nationally in sales volume and customer experience.  DiChiara attributes the success to his belief that “Leadership is Influence.”  He focuses on training and strategic execution to drive performance.  Showing a drawing of an iceberg, DiChiara explained that the tip of the iceberg represents the skills needed to be successful.  While important, most of the iceberg is beneath the water, and represents a person’s character.  Said DiChiara,”What is in the heart matters more than skills alone.  We choose how we show up every day.”

As a leader, it is critically important to engage team members, by sharing power and helping people develop to the best of their abilities.  As part of putting others first, DiChiara uses the SERVE Model of Leadership.

S = See and shape the Future.  The leader’s role is to describe the vision to the team, and harness the talent needed to make it a reality.

 E = Engage and develop others.  Leaders need to utilize their teams to create top performance.  Employees add the most value when they feel valued.

 R = Reinvent constantly.  Leaders must stay relevant and inspired for the sake of their team.

 V= Value results and relationships.  Leaders must understand that both are important.

E = Embody the Values.  Leaders clearly communicate their values, share their values and live their values.

Concluded DiChiara, “Some people question how leadership by serving others is important, but clearly, we were designed to receive joy from serving others.”