Smart Leadership with Mark Miller of Chick-fil-A


4 Ways Leaders Can Scale Their Impact


Being something of a foodie myself, of course I started my chat with Mark Miller, Chick-fil-A Vice President of High-Performance Leadership, by asking, “What’s the secret ingredient in your chicken?”



Honestly, I was hoping for an actual recipe. But wasn’t surprised when he told me, “The secret ingredient is hospitality.” Because as anyone who has been to Chick-fil-A knows, they hire, train and retain based on creating a staff environment that is truly hospitable. And in a fast-food world, that is a much harder recipe to match than some number of herbs and spices.

In the case of Mark’s new book, Smart Leadership: Four Simple Choices to Scale Your Impact, he goes into some detail about how those four ingredients can help transform leaders and create more opportunities for change and impact.

We talked about how leaders can get bogged down in what he and his research team eventually came to call “quicksand.” That’s all the challenges—little and big—that can really distract leaders away from the core activities that make them effective.



For example, he talks about how good leaders need to start by defining reality. Because the quicksand, as he says, isn’t the villain: we are. And the first step towards getting out of the quicksand is to evaluate the facts about how you got bogged down in the first place.

Mark made a great point about assessment in this regard. He said, “The value in assessment isn’t in what you learn, it’s what you do.” Did you catch that subtle difference? You can be startled or alarmed, depressed or angry about the reality you’re trying to lead through. But your reaction to the facts is only a reflection on “where you start” to get smarter. If you know you don’t want to stay there… you’ll take action.

I love talking with Mark because just about every other sentence out of his mouth could be the subject for a blog post. Take a listen and learn from someone who has built a career on empowering others to be better, smarter leaders.


Four Smart Choices:


1. Confront reality.



2. Grow capacity.




3. Fuel curiosity.



4. Create change.


Listen to the Aim Higher episode by clicking here.


For more information, see Smart Leadership: Four Simple Choices to Scale Your Impact.




Image Credit: Cristian Escobar

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