Convictions of the Leader

2016 Work as Worship Conference

Is it possible to lead well in the corporate world and not compromise your faith? For Cheryl Bachelder, leadership doesn't jeopardize your faith—faith actually drives leadership. Leaders should follow their convictions of faith as they work. In this 29-minute interview, Cheryl discusses the Popeyes turnaround, faith, work, and leadership.

Cheryl Bachelder is the CEO of AFC Enterprises, Inc., the parent company of Popeyes® Louisiana Kitchen, and the author of Dare to Serve. She holds a B.S. in Business Administration and an MBA in Finance and Marketing from the Kelly School of Business at Indiana University.  

What impacted you the most from Cheryl's interview? Why?
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Cheryl shared that one of her greatest failures—losing her job at KFC—turned into one of greatest blessings. Growth happens most from failure than from success. 

What is one of your greatest failures? In what ways has that failure become a blessing? What did you learn from your experience?
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When she started at Popeyes, Cheryl discovered a lack of trust in the company. She decided to focus on building back trust since trust forms the foundation for any healthy company. 

What practices are in place to build trust in your organization? In what ways could you grow the level of trust in your company?
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Cheryl described the three tenets of the Popeyes turnaround:
  • Clear direction and destination
  • Serve franchise owners
  • Performance results

One of the keys to the turnaround was servant leadership. What do you see as potential benefits to servant leadership? What might it look like to employ servant leadership in your organization?
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Cheryl said work is a mission field. How might seeing your work as a mission field shape how you act and what you say at work?
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Cheryl uses relational conversation to talk to people about her faith. She gets to know the people she leads in order to share the gospel with them. How do you share your faith at work? What advantages do you see in Cheryl's approach?
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As CEO, Cheryl focuses heavily on developing leaders. She said, "I can't grow you if I don't know you." She spends 90 minutes every other week with each of her direct reports. While they do talk about work, they also discuss personal matters to build their relationship. 

What intrigues you about how Cheryl invests in leaders? Why?
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How do you develop leaders? What strategies do you have in place for pouring into the leaders around you?
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Cheryl described her role as CEO as being responsible for the vision (the steps forward), talent (leadership development), and culture (safe place where people are known and have purpose) of the company. How would you describe your role in your company?
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What principle could you apply from Cheryl's talk this week? What practical steps could you take to put that principle into action?
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It is possible to be a Christian in the corporate world. As a leader, you can lead with integrity, service, and joy. You can saturate your speech with Scripture, build intentional relationships, and lead with Christian principles. As Cheryl said, your workplace is a mission field—you can honor God and represent Him as you work.

For more information on the Work as Worship Conference or how to attend next year's event, visit

To hear the full story of the Popeyes turnaround, check out the documentary here.