Meek Is Not Weak

During the 2018 DFW Technology Prayer Breakfast at the Irving Convention Center, we saw two great examples of how being meek is not the same as being weak. Many of the CEOs and business owners I meet here in DFW feel a need to try and control the situation and the team in a driven, forceful manner. Cheryl Bachelder and Paola Saibene shared great examples of how meekness can drive incredible results.

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Cheryl Bachelder, the former CEO of Popeyes Chicken, was our guest speaker, and she presented the story of how she used Servant Leadership to turn around Popeyes Chicken and create a culture where leaders felt they mattered. She told the story of how she stepped into the Popeyes franchise at a time when sales were horrible, and as were the restaurants and the relationship with franchise owners. She decided this was the perfect opportunity to test the concept of Servant Leadership. Her book Dare to Serve outlines the journey and explains four key steps she took to turn things around (as is evident by the numbers on this chart)

  1. Declare a daring destination.
  2. Chose who you will serve.
  3. Love the people you lead.
  4. Deliver results.

A few of us were invited to spend some time with Cheryl after the event that morning to learn even more about her passion and purpose. It was a cool time of just hearing her heart and understanding how she sees leadership.

She told us her personal purpose is to “develop purpose-driven leaders who exhibit competence and character in all aspects of their lives.” It’s this purpose that drives her to pursue excellence in her life and to live out her faith at work boldly. Cheryl is bold about her faith in Jesus Christ and shared how she decided not to hold this back even while leading a publicly traded company like Popeyes.

She also explained that she spent 30% of her time developing the seven people on her leadership team. That way they were prepared to serve the thousands of other people in the organization. Her meekness with angry franchise owners was key to disarming them and letting them know they could trust the changes she was bringing. Cheryl showed how being meek does not mean being weak.

“Meek: quiet, gentle, and easily imposed on; submissive.”

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Paola Saibene, 2017 Merv Tarde Values in Leadership inductee, followed Cheryl with an explanation of what it means to be meek, and how she has lived this out in her career. She told the story of how horses were trained to be bold and fearless as they followed the direction of the rider into battle. She equated this to her style of leading with meekness as she follows Jesus Christ. She reminded us that Jesus was the perfect example of a meek leader who had all power and authority and chose to serve others. Watch the video of her presentation at Paola Saibene.

Paola has been a great example of serving and caring for others. She served many leadership roles in technology like Chief Technology Officer for the State of Hawaii and currently serves at Flowserve here in DFW. She also serves in support of the DFW Technology Prayer Breakfast, and her gentle spirit is evident to all who spend time with her. If you struggle to lead with a servants heart, contact Paola to learn more.

Meek is not weak. Meek a strength under control. The question is who is in control.

Join us this year for our 2019 DFW Technology Prayer Breakfast

Note: Cheryl mentioned two books as inspiration for her living out her purpose; “Your Work Matters to GOD” and “The Purpose Driven Life” as books that inspired her. I am a fan of Cheryl’s book “Dare to Serve” which she recently updated and released in October 2018. I read this book a few years ago, and it helped me define my personal purpose in life. I use the content of this book to teach others how to identify and live out their personal purpose at work. I recommend you read it and if you need help defining your personal purpose call me any time. RobertH@REFdallas.comNo alt text provided for this image

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