1 - How Popeyes Bounced Back

Who's Your Customer?


God always moves in ways we don’t understand in the moment but as we look back on certain seasons in our lives, we can see exactly why his timing is perfect. For Cheryl Bachelder, former CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, this is the exact moment she experienced as she stepped into her role at Popeyes after being fired from KFC. In this course, you will see how Popeyes was able to bounce back from failure through the faith, ingenuity, and servant leadership of Cheryl. This is a story about the importance of serving other people through love and attention, giving our work back to God, and making sure that our contributions to our jobs are not for selfish ambition.

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Popeyes was in the midst of a frenzy with no future in sight. There was chaos, no communication, unnecessary expectations, non-existent teamwork, and a high focus on money. Their turnaround had to do a lot with the type of person and leader that Cheryl was and was continuing to grow into. The organization benefited from the fact that Cheryl kept God first and believed in servant leadership as a lifestyle, rather than a task to check off. We can have a major influence in our organizations and at our jobs when we allow God to work through us in the workplace.

What are three take-aways you have from this course? What part of Cheryl and the Popeyes story stood out to you the most?
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How much of Cheryl’s work success do you think came from her personal values? How does her story show the importance of living out your faith in the workplace?
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Cheryl says she’s humbled by being fired and failing during her time at KFC. How can you benefit from this kind of perspective?
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One of the testimonies from the video explained how Cheryl stopped a meeting in order to show her bonus plan. This transparency began to build trust among the team that hadn’t been evident before. Why do you think transparency is a good way to earn trust? How does trust within a team shift a work environment?
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Cheryl expressed how ordinary leadership is easy because the standard is low in comparison to the sacrifice of servant leadership. Servant leadership is the standard we should be striving for because it requires a level of self-awareness that many people are too lazy to work toward. We must look at our own hearts, actions, and behaviors and be sensitive to how they’re affecting others. 

The Popeyes turnaround was monumental all because of a redirection in leadership style that was rooted in loving people and investing in team members. This week, take time to reflect on the meaning of servant leadership and why it is our ultimate model. Think about all that Jesus accomplished through his servant leader attitude, and pray about how you can gain a better understanding of it.