This week we have the pleasure of speaking with Dee Ann Turner, former VP of Talent for Chick-fil-A.  Dee Ann was instrumental in building and growing Chick-fil-A’s well-known culture and talent systems, responsible for selecting thousands of Chick-fil-A franchisees and corporate staff members. Under her leadership, Chick-fil-A enjoyed industry-leading employee engagement scores and became known for selecting the best talent in the hospitality business, maintaining a 95% retention rate for corporate staff and franchisees. She has also mentored and championed hundreds of people to discover their unique vocational callings and build careers they love.

To learn more, visit her website at

The views, information, or opinions expressed during this show are solely those of the participants involved and do not necessarily represent those of SouthState Bank and its employees. 


[Intro]: Helping community bankers grow themselves, their team and their profits. This is the community bank podcast.

Eric Bagwell: Welcome to the community bank podcast. I’m Eric Bagwell, Director of Sales and Marketing for the correspondent division at South State Bank. Joining me, as always, is Tom Fitzgerald. Tom is director of strategy and research with our vision, Tom, how’s it going?

Tom Fitzgerald: I’m doing good, Eric. How are you doing?

Eric Bagwell: I’m good. And it’s been a long time since I’ve been on one of these.

Tom Fitzgerald: Dynamic Duo is back.

Eric Bagwell: That’s right. I had some very busy at work. That’s not an excuse, but my family actually got COVID.

Tom Fitzgerald: Yeah, I heard that.

Eric Bagwell: And it well, I wouldn’t call it awful. But it took a while. And we have protocols here. So I have actually been away from everybody, but about two weeks ago, got back. And so glad to be back though, and glad to be back at the microphone. Today we’ve got a really good show. We think this is going to be a really popular one you and Caleb sat down with Dee Ann Turner. Dee Ann is a former vice president of talent at Chick Fil A. She was actually there 33 years, I believe. And during her time there, they had a 95% retention rate. But she retired from chick fil A three years ago. And now she is a speaker and an author. And she’s got a new book called Crush Your Career. And Tom, tell us really quickly, just a little bit about it since you did the interview.

Tom Fitzgerald: It was a lot of good stuff. Eric, if you’ve got young ones that are kind of just graduating and starting out the career. This is the show for you. She talked a lot about how to kind of Ace those early interviews, kind of how to get your career started on the right path. So I think I think it’s going to be its valuable information. Like I said, for anybody who’s starting out in a career, or parents that have kids that are kind of doing the same thing. I think they’ll want to hear this.

Eric Bagwell: Yeah, I saw the questions you guys are going to ask Dee Ann earlier today. Those are some good questions that I could tell this is going to be a cool show. And we actually had a neighbor up the street who got a job at Chick Fil A Corporate, and she kind of told me one day standing out in the yard, watching dogs that kind of that process and that’s unique. That’s a pretty cool thing that they do at Chick Fil A as there’s a lot of stuff they do is so. We’re glad you guys have tuned in to listen to the podcast. We’ve got some great shows coming up actually later this week. We’re going to record an interview and sit down with Tom Michaud. He’s the CEO at KBW, Caleb actually did an interview with Jon Acuff as well. You may have heard of John, he’s a New York Times bestselling author and speaker. So look for those in the coming weeks. But thanks for listening to this one. And we’ll go straight to the interview with Dee Ann Turner. Thanks.

Caleb Stevens: Well, Dee Ann, thank you so much for joining us this afternoon on the podcast. It’s good to have you on how are you doing?

Dee Ann Turner: I’m doing great. Thank you so much, Caleb and Tom for having me today.

Caleb Stevens: It’s a pleasure to have you and we’re so excited to hear all about your long-standing career with Chick Fil A, you serve for was 33 years. Did you say?

Dee Ann Turner: That’s right. 33 years.

Caleb Stevens: Give us a little bit of your background. How did you First hear about Chick Fil A, I would assume 33 years ago, they weren’t nearly as well-known as they are today. So how did you get started with Chick Fil A and talk about your role there?

Dee Ann Turner: Sure. Well, it’s even been longer than that now because it’s, actually three years ago today that I made the decision to retire. So I’m sure we’ll get into that. But anyway, it was about 36 years ago that is a little over that. That I started interviewing at Chick Fil A and it really is, I had a very unique story. My husband was a pastor near the Chick Fil A headquarters at that time that we call the different things that started out as corporate headquarters when I went there, then it was the home office, and then it became the Support Center. So I often talk about it in all three ways. But we needed to move closer. We lived on the other side of Atlanta, we needed to live in the community that he was serving. So I started looking for another job.

I was working for a small advertising firm on the other side of Atlanta, and I had heard of Chick fil A obviously growing up in Atlanta I heard about it, but I didn’t know anything about the culture of the organization. But my husband had visited there, and he did, and he suggested I apply. And so I did and two weeks later I received thanks but no thanks letter from the human resources department. They said we don’t have anything that matches your background and interests. I told my husband I said so that’s that. I applied, I didn’t get the job. I’m moving on. And he said, wait not so fast why don’t you apply again. So I did About two weeks after that I got another version of that same letter. Will make a long story short, I continued by this time, I was really interested in who this company inside continued to kind of press into Chick Fil A and I kept calling them you know, Caleb. This was long before email and so you had two choices you either call them or you sent snail mail and I did a lot of both.

And then one day my husband was sitting in the church office and a lady came in with a flat tire. And she asked to use the telephone because there also were no cell phones. To call her husband to come and change it. Well, my husband said I’ll change it for you. And so he did and afterward she handed him a card for a free Chick Fil A sandwich. He said Oh, do you work at Chick Fil A, and she said I did. But I’ve resigned because my husband’s been relocated. So he said what department Do you work in? And she said advertising which just so happened to be the very area that I was trying to get a job. So he ushered her out of the church and called me and I hung up from him and I called Chick Fil A and said, I understand you have a job in advertising, and I’d like to apply.

I think they were tired of me Continuing to call them and pester them about a job. So they invited me in for an interview after a very lengthy months-long process I was in one of the last interviews with the person who was then the vice president of human resources and he said, I think they’re going to offer you that job. In advertising, but I also have a job in HR. I think you’d be a good fit. Would you be interested in pursuing that position? And I thought about it over The weekend, and I thought, I love variety. I called him back and said Hey, I’ll go for the job. In HR, and then the My mind I figured within two years I’d make it back to the marketing department. But after 33 years I left Chick Fil A and I never did work in marketing.

Caleb Stevens: That’s A great story in persistence and you did two things that I think are Both rare today. One is snail mail, handwritten note You don’t see that often sadly. But it’s A great way to stand out. And then secondly, you call people you know, you might even say this was a cold call. Talk about the value of those two things today when we’re sort of Always, you know, just doing email and that’s kind of an easy thing to do but really to standout today oftentimes handwritten notes Maybe even picking up the phone is the way to go.

Dee Ann Turner: Sure. I’m so glad you ask me about that because it’s one of the things I encouraged the people that I coach Now. My latest book is called Crush your Career. And one of the things I talked about Particularly in the interviewing process is the value of a handwritten note simply because it helps you stand out. Very few people send handwritten notes. Now it’s not like It was when I was interviewing at Chick Fil A, and you sent a handwritten note It went into your application File. Because most all of that is Digital now but some companies might scan it in and so that would be in your file. That you had sent a handwritten note, But it makes an impression, a really strongly positive impression when somebody takes the time to write a thoughtful, thank you note. Whether it’s a note to inquire about employment that might not actually be very efficient but Certainly during the employment process as you interview, I recommend to those I coach to send both handwritten notes and an email Because at least one of them will show up and if both of them do, I think that makes the candidacy stronger.

I think the telephone is really important too. It’s not as easy just to catch somebody on the telephone But setting up a Virtual call or a phone call with somebody You know, and Here’s a way to go about it if you’re trying to get a job with As an organization trying to get to a particular recruiter. Now you might say hey would you have time On your drive time assuming they’re back in the office now or would you have time that we might connect that you know, have some questions or I’d like to personally introduce myself, sometimes that’s a great time for when people are in the car. It’s a great time for them to Kind of knock those types of tasks off. So that’s a great approach. To take but if you can get a personal phone call and even better yet you can get on a virtual Call with someone. I think that really helps your chances. Rather than just sending an email. There’s so much that gets lost in translation. In emails, whether they’re between you and your colleagues once you have a job or even in a job search process, I think it’s very valuable if you can press to get that phone call.

Tom Fitzgerald: Good points and I know you briefly mentioned your latest book Crush Your Career. I’m first of all I want to say I’m very impressed because I do a lot of writing in my, job but I’ve never had the wherewithal to stick it out and put it All into book form. So anybody can do that. I’m very impressed with that. So Congratulations on being, I guess the author now are you.

Dee Ann Turner: That was number three. Thank you.

Tom Fitzgerald: Great. Great. Well, talk a bit about that. Does the book Crush Your Career also kind of what was the motivation to you to sort of put pen to paper on that one?

Dee Ann Turner: Sure, and Tom by the way that you know, the writing ends up front as being the easy part of it is marketing and promoting that becomes the challenging part when you write a book, but I had written two books that were primarily It’s My Pleasure and Bet On Talent were written for leaders who were trying to find and keep extraordinary talent and I say that Crush Your Career was written for talent to learn how to be extraordinary. And so when I wrote the other two Books one of the audiences, I had in mind Primarily leaders from any industry but also Some of our Chick Fil A franchisees. Because I knew that after Truett was gone, you know, I wanted to create a record of what he taught me that others can learn from either those of us who were there we’d never forget what he taught us. Or those who would come after Truett. Truett Cathy the founder of Chick Fil A that they would know what he thought was important like people’s decisions are the most important decisions we make that were one of his principles.

And so that was really behind the first 2 books and The third one really came from a place of I wanted to help A new generation. Trying to figure out this whole career thing, career path and calling, and all of those things. Having three young adults in my own life my husband and I have three grown sons now, and my youngest one is a senior in college next year and so they were going through all this I had been given them all this advice I’ve been writing articles about this kind of advice, but I have to tell you when the publisher first told me that This was the book, they wanted me to write. I push back a little bit Because it was in the summer of 2019 and again, I had my own young adult children that had job offers coming from every direction without searching for a job because there were so many opportunities, and I said this generation does not need this book. You know how to find a job keep a job and grow a career. That’s not something they need right now.

The publisher kept pushing. That was what they wanted me to write, and I finally relented. I began to work on what’s now Crush Your Career. I turned in the first draft of that book on March the 20th 2020. Now, forget about what was going on? In fact, I gave it to them. And I said, and now I’ll need it back because I have to start rewriting some things in this new world, we’re living in. And even as I did that, and even as we finished up the book in the fall of 2020, I could not imagine that in March of 2021, when the book was released. We’d still be dealing with so many of these issues. But it turned out to be the right book at the right time and I’m really, really thankful that they pushed me in it turned out to be a resource. I’m sorry for The reason it was needed because For a while there the job market was just turned so upside down and still aspects of it are.

But I was thankful that there was now a resource for people who found themselves in a situation. Not just to find a job but a lot of people you know During this time transitioned have their own choice to some new opportunities but you When you get a new opportunity, how do you How are you successful at that job and so half the book Crush Your Career. The first half is all about finding a job. But the second half is really about keeping the job and growing your career. It’s things like how to navigate landmines, and the things you need to do the first 90 days and to be successful in your job And even about, you know your first leadership assignment and thinking about retirement because as you guys know if you don’t start thinking about that, you know when you first start Working then you might not have a retirement to plan for, so I even talked about Hey, don’t forget about this aspect of it too. So that’s really what was behind Crush Your Career, what It’s all about.

Caleb Stevens: Well it’s backed up by all the results that you guys produced at Chick-fil-A throughout the course of your career. I think at one point was it 95 97% retention rate that you that Chick-fil-A has and probably still has. What were some of the key qualities and the key? What was sort of your framework for Hiring as you were trying to find these young people and as they were approaching you? What were your parameters and what was sort of your framework for how you approach job candidates??

Dee Ann Turner: Sure what I can speak to was during my time leading talent at Chick fil A of course I can’t tell you anything about how things are done today because all the players and processes have changed. And I’m sure that they’ve retained some of those same principles, but I’m just not as familiar with them. But what was important As I was leaving that function was to really focus on three things when we selected a staff member or a franchisee. Remember all the Chick fil A team members as wonderful people In the restaurants with the big smiles and my pleasures and Good manners and all those things. Those are actually employees of the franchisee, so they select all of those people, but our job was to select great franchisees that would do a good job selecting talent, which I personally think they do a tremendous job of.

But are we focused on three things primarily during that time in mind Career In the first was a character, we look for somebody whose character matches the organization meaning that their own personal purpose, mission, and values would not necessarily be the same, but they will align with the Chick fil A corporate purpose, mission, and values? And then secondly, we look for people with the competency that match the role. That’s pretty obvious. But the really hard job there was that we have so much talent approaching us in, so few opportunities were really deciding who had the most competency everybody was competent For the role, but it was so competitive. And we also didn’t just look for competency for the role we were selected for at the moment, but we had to think about we were such a growing organization.

We had to think about competency for roles. Down the road and some that hadn’t been invented yet. So for example, one of the things that that job that I love the most at Chick fil A selecting Chick fil A franchisees. At the time, that kind of a high When I was involved in this processor is what I would say was the most challenging time was when we were shifting from being primarily in shopping malls to being on in them as we call them freestanding restaurants on a street corner. And the free-standing restaurants on street corners generated a lot more income than a small restaurant. But guess what, all the malls rest all the franchisees that were currently in malls, they wanted to get to those free standards, so they were being relocated. And what that left me and my team to do was define franchisees to go in these less profitable and less income-generating opportunities. But here’s the catch.

I had to find people who would take that opportunity but be competent enough to be able to run probably in just a few years, a four or five or $6 million restaurants because they were, you know, they were likely to be the ones that were going to be relocated to those new restaurants. So it was, a challenge, to say the least. And then the third area is chemistry, the chemistry that matches the team. So if it were a franchisee or somebody that had the chemistry that would match in with the franchise eating market, where they were going to be located or, you know, the corporate staff member that was going to fit in with the team, where they were going to work. And we’re not talking about chemistry, I don’t just mean hey, you know, we lock arms and sing Kumbaya and all get-together and get along together, I’m talking about the kind of chemistry where somebody can actually bring their diverse perspective. And they’re so skilled in collaboration, they can bring that diverse perspective and influence the other people in the team. That’s great chemistry. And that’s what I look for when I look for talent. So it’s those three things were the basic framework that I use a character that matches the organization, competency that matches the role, and chemistry that matches the team.

Caleb Stevens: I love the growth mindset, too. There, you know, we’re going to entrust you with this for now. But we also want to help develop you to take on more and more responsibilities as time goes on, I think that’s often missed a lot of times, we just see our immediate need, you know, right in front of our noses, and we want to fill that hole and plug it, and we missed the longer view of hiring. So I love that perspective.

Dee Ann Turner: Caleb part of the reason that that happens is sometimes we get in a mindset of thinking, well, when that time comes, we’ll just, you know, there’s a limitless supply of talents, and we’ll just select someone else. But that’s not always the case. And sometimes the best investment we can make is to grow and develop our current talent into those roles. But if they don’t start with a high enough level of capability, not just competency, but capability, then we don’t have that opportunity. And we find and organizations that don’t invest in that way. And don’t think in that way from the get-go often find themselves having critical roles in the future that they can’t fill. Because talent isn’t limitless, we know, definitely a shortage of talent, and then they haven’t invested in their own people to grow and develop in that way.

Tom Fitzgerald: Let’s talk now Dee Ann, you know, this is June, this is graduation season, and I’m sure through your career, you sat through a lot of interviews of potential new hires, and we may have some graduates listening, or at least the leaders, the parents of those that have children that have just graduated, what are some of the keys or tips that you can give them as they kind of go through this interview process that they’re kind of confronting in the next few months? As far as a couple of key tips, give them as they start to navigate you know, the interviews?

Dee Ann Turner: Sure, well, one of the first things I would say is, there are two things when you go for an interview, that you really need to be on top of. And they’re going to be obvious too, but we’ll break them down a little bit. The first one is that you know, yourself. And the second one is that you know, the organization.

So what do I mean by knowing yourself? Well, it’s more than just what’s on the resume, or the application that you complete. But that’s the start of really having a good handle on your experiences in the value of those experiences. Having the self-awareness to know what you do well, and what you don’t do well. Now, here’s the real difference-maker of being a great interviewer with that formation. You don’t just know yourself, but you have stories to tell. When you talk in an interview and someone asks you a question, you’re able to give them an example of your answer. You know, for instance, tell me about a really challenging project you worked on. If someone’s a good interviewer they’re asking, behavioral type of interviewing questions. So they might say something like, tell me about a project? Well, don’t just talk about the project don’t just list down, well his project. And this is what I did, tell the story of the project, why you got the project. He worked on the team on the project, and most importantly, what were the results of the project. You can constantly talk whether it’s on your resume, you want to talk in results, not task the same way in an interview, talk about the results that were created, not just the task. So that’s a short answer about knowing yourself.

And the second one knowing the organization. You certainly there is you know, there’s just a wealth of knowledge about almost any organization you’re going to interview. Most of the times it’s at your tips if it’s not at your tips then you can certainly network to find out more information, but Study the organization knows about their culture, know what their purpose, mission, and core values are, you don’t want to go in and ask any question that could have been found out on their website, for instance, and then talk to other people or go on Glassdoor, or indeed and learn about the interview questions that are often asked in their interviews you can almost be prepared for exactly what you’re going to be asked if you really go and do the research.

And then, you know, one of the things I recommend to people is, if you know who you’re going to interview with, go and look up their LinkedIn profiles, see if they’ve been published, you know, they’ve written an article, they’ve done a podcast, they’ve done a keynote talk that’s on YouTube, be sure that you look at all that so that you make that connection with that person when you interview with them. And you don’t, you know, you don’t walk in blind, but what’s important to them and how they communicate, you can learn a lot about that before you ever get there. So that’s I mean, the book Crush Your Career is, of course, full of all kinds of advice, to your question, Tom, but those are, that’s the two big points that if you’re getting into the job market, and you’re starting to look for a new job, those are the first two things that I recommend.

Tom Fitzgerald: Yeah, it sounds like you know, just kind of you can kind of summarize it by just do some homework on the company and the people that you’re going to be talking to, and not just kind of show up cold. And that’s probably one of the mistakes, you see that somebody just comes in and really doesn’t exhibit that they really know the company. Is there some other kind of common mistakes that you see that that maybe we can get the listeners to avoid?

Dee Ann Turner: Yeah, it’s the flip side of what I was talking about, you know, talking in a task instead of results, you can make yourself really stand out if when somebody asked you a question, instead of, you know, going down your role, I was responsible for X. And we achieved this, even if it’s a college student that’s never had a full-time position before they can talk about a project team, they were on in the classroom. And our assignment was this, my role in that team was this. And this is what this team achieved. That really gives the interviewer a lot more information about you, by the way, not to chase a rabbit. But this is a really good skill too in preparing for your own performance review. When you go in later, and you’re talking to your boss about your current job is being able to talk about results. Don’t tell him just what you did but tell them what was accomplished. So one of the mistakes that we sometimes see going into interviews is that we don’t know how to talk about results, we just talked about the activity.

The other thing I like to encourage people is, you know, there’s an assumption sometimes I’m going to an interview with somebody. So they’re a great interviewer. Not always, I mean, sometimes people are asked to interview candidates, because the candidates going to work in their function, but an interview may not be their highest and best skill. They may have something else that they’re contributing to the organization, they just part of the hiring managers, team, so they are asked to participate in the interview. And so don’t make that assumption, go prepared with the kinds of questions that they should ask. And if they don’t ask those questions, give them the same kind of answers you would. So if they asked you a lot of yes or no questions or they read down your resume. Instead of just going along with it, actually, you know, they say so I see here you were such and such, at your internship last summer.

And you could say, Yeah, I did such and such role. But instead say, Yes, in fact, that was one of the most exciting opportunities I’ve ever had. And here’s why. And you start talking about what you learned in that opportunity, what you achieved during that internship so that you actually give them a lot of information that they don’t even know they were asking for. But when the interview is over, they’re going to have all this interview all this information on you to go into a debrief with a hiring manager or human resources person that they didn’t even know they asked for, but you deliver, you’ll have them a lot better prepared.

Caleb Stevens: One conundrum with this, Dee Ann, that I see, and I’d love to get your thoughts on this is I have a lot of peers who they’ll go into interviews, and they do have a list of results that they’d like to share. But they also don’t want to come across like they’re bragging, or that they’re arrogant. That same I don’t get across your capabilities, your talents how you provided results, then, they are not going to know any of your track records. And maybe that’s to your detriment. So any thoughts on that? I mean, I’ve heard people say before, in an interview, yeah, this is your time to show them. You know, why are you awesome? Don’t feel any sort of pressure to feel like you’re bragging. They want to know they’re asking, but in any thoughts on that of how to not come across as arrogant?

Dee Ann Turner: Well, we’ve identified something that really does happen, and I had that experience when I was interviewing, you know, sometimes candidates. Well, I want you to want to see confidence. You want to see some humble confidence. And so what can you do to create that you want to balance between talking about what you did and bringing other people into your story. So, I was part of a team, and this is what we accomplished, the team I served accomplish this, your words matter in that way or, you know, while I had this significant role, and we accomplish this, I could not have accomplished this had I not had the help of so and so and so and so. So there’s a way to, because I do think it’s very important, it is your time to shine. And you do need to be clear about your accomplishments and what you’re able to do. But if you can just add a little bit of that humility and make it clear that you recognize no matter how good you are there been other people that helped you along the way, that’ll go a long way to keep you from appearing arrogant, and isolation, you know, in working in isolation.

Tom Fitzgerald: Okay, let’s flip the desk right now and kind of talk about the interview view, we’re from the perspective that a lot of our listeners, and I’m a kind of a tail-end baby boomer, and I think a lot of our listeners are as well. So when they’re sitting down talking to a, you know, a Gen Z candidate, what are some thoughts that you some advice for them, that you would give the interviewer as to, you know, sometimes we see these kids are like Boy, they come from another planet. So what, you know, what kind of advice would you give them as to try to make that an effective interview for them in that situation.

Dee Ann Turner: So the first thing is to understand what’s important to them. And there are three key things that most any is particularly now because a lot of people that are interviewing for people coming to new jobs, they’re Gen Z are coming out of college, been out of college a few years. And there are three things, in particular, they care about. Number one, they’re looking for what I call a remarkable culture, they’re looking for an organization that has a strong healthy culture that they can fully engage with, takes us to the next point, they’re looking to be about something bigger than themselves, and an organization that’s bigger than itself. You know, I talk about Chick fil A, in this regard, because I could have stayed someplace for 33 years, if it was just about selling chicken, right, good chicken, but not for 33 years, it had to be something bigger than that.

So whatever your organization is, finding, being able to articulate, hey, this is how we make money. But this is how we’re trying to change the world through what we do. And then lastly, they want opportunities to learn and grow. So if you have that mindset, when you go into that, that these are the three most important things to them, that I think tailoring some of your questions to that and also being prepared to answer those questions. So, you know, talk asking them questions about, you know, in terms of your tech learning and development, you know, what’s your preference? Do you listen to podcasts, you do online courses? Do you like to go to a live conference, but just indicating to them. The question itself indicates that you’re interested in that.

And secondly, you’re going to learn some things about them about how they approach learning and development, for example, or culture, you know, to ask them, have you developed your own personal mission? What is it? And do you know what our organization’s mission is? And how does it align with your personal mission? How do you think you can live out your mission through a role here? So that is, I think that’s a way to because I’m really thinking about if I’m the interviewer, it’s not just about finding the information. I mean, to me, that’s the behavioral interviewing questions that help us with character, competency, and chemistry. But I’m also wanting to tailor the interview way that I know is going to make the organization more attractive to them. And for me, that’s I’m going to focus on the things that are a no are important to them.

And then this skill of behavioral interviewing that I just referenced, is really, really important. In fact, if and I develop this for a banking client, actually, and now I shared on my website, but any of your listeners that want to go to my website, they can download my PDF of my top 25 behavioral interviewing questions. And it just so happens bank tellers, and hospitable people and so forth, patient advocates and so forth, this is perfect for them. But having that skill of asking a question, the answer yes or no, but really gets at the example. And you learn about somebody’s past performance because that’s the best predictor of future success is their past performance and the kinds of questions that help you get that good information.

And then once you learn which of those questions to ask, then it’s going one step further. You want to be a great Interviewer And you really want to be good at selecting talent, then what I suggest is what I Call the going three questions deep. So when you ask that question, tell me about a time that you failed at work, you didn’t meet expectations, and they tell you about it. So what did you do next time to make sure that didn’t happen? What was the feedback specifically from your supervisor, you can see how these questions are going? And all of a sudden, you’ve had a really good five to seven-minute conversation, you have a lot of great information about this candidate, you do that 10 times over. And you’re really prepared to make a great selection decision on that candidate. Now you’ll notice something that I keep saying, I keep talking about selecting talent, you’ve not heard me say hire people.

And that’s a real basic principle that I have. I believe that if you want to have extraordinary talent, then you’re going to select talent, instead of hiring people. When I think of hiring people, it’s about quantity. Do I have enough people to cover this shift? Do I have enough people in the back of the house? Do I have enough people in the drive-thru lane if you’re in the restaurant business, but when I think about selecting talent that’s all about quality, get the right people in the right roles to help my organization be successful? Do they have that competency that I’m looking for in that character and that chemistry? So there’s a big difference between hiring people and selecting talent? And I think having the right interviewing skills is a great way to get started.

And, Tom, I know I’ve been going a while on this answer. But there’s a lot of thought here. There’s something else that people skip when there is not the interview itself. But in the process. Sometimes I skip talking to references. And I think that that’s the real hidden gem. If you learn to do that, well, you’ll select better talent, because you just take the same questions you asked the candidate and you talk to a reference somebody that the person’s been accountable to in the past, it could be a former employer who is preferred, or it could be a former coach or teacher or an organization they volunteered in, but somebody they’ve been accountable to, and you ask the same type of behavioral interview questions. Tell me about a time give me an example, tell me a story when Sue did this. And then you take that and compare it to your interviewing information, and you have a ton of great information to select extraordinary talent.

Tom Fitzgerald: And all of your answers just kind of struck me as it kind of recall. In one of David’s Salyers presentations where he had visited a franchisee, and the franchise owner had mentioned that we’re, you know, we’re a career development organization masquerading as a fast-food restaurant. And, you know, a lot of your answers kind of really takes me back to that, that you know, you’re in, you really have that devotion, that culture that says we want to be we want to develop your career, not just hire somebody for a position in the fast-food restaurant. I can just see that coming out and everything that you’ve been saying,

Dee Ann Turner: Well, I think that you know, what I find amazing, and I’ve heard Chick fil A franchisees talk about it, so many great stories of them. And the fact that they do that what’s really amazing is they’re not necessarily just preparing them to work at Chick-fil-A because most of them they know are on their way somewhere else to do something else. But a lot of them do have a passion to be, you know, a first a great first employer, and certainly to add value to each of those people as they go on to do whatever’s next in their life. But it is part of it is a great way to attract people is to feel like they’re I’m going to get some skills. And like in the restaurant industry, for example, you know, I’m going to get some customer service skills by serving customers. I’m going to be exposed to some leadership but I’m learning some waitering skills. I’m not even learned some entrepreneurial skills about running my own business, being a part of this, you know, goes way beyond dropping waffle fries and taking orders in the drive-thru.

Caleb Stevens: Well, let’s close with this. Dee Ann. Then at the end, I want to hear how can we get your book? How can we book you to speak if you have an event coming up? How can we engage with you? But as we wrap up, how do you define the culture we talked a lot about on this podcast. Creating a remarkable culture, how do you define culture, and then any thoughts for a leader who’s listening to that want to take their talent selection and their culture to the next level? Any thoughts on that?

Dee Ann Turner: Sure. So the way I define culture, and lots of people do this differently, but I talked about in terms of what elements you must have, and in a remarkable culture is created when you have a meaningful purpose. A why for existing. And, you know, and usually, the purpose never changes, it is the purpose of your organization. The second element of remarkable culture is a challenging mission, people want a really big goal to work towards, and a mission changes when the mission is achieved. So when you know, when you set a mission, it has to be a goal that can be measured, it has to be time-bound. And when you set it, when you reach that goal, then you set a new mission for people to pursue. And then lastly, I talked about that you have to have demonstrated core values. And always use that word demonstrated, because if you just have a one a screensaver, you put them on the wall somewhere. It doesn’t mean anything if the people in the organization aren’t living them out, day to day, and it starts with the leadership at the very top and then trickles down throughout the organization.

So to me, that’s the definition of culture. And you have to have that foundation, that culture to attract extraordinary talent. That’s the kind of organization they want to be a part of. And if you don’t have that culture, they’re not going to stay with you very long. But that’s the foundation, you know, and I talked about this in my other book Bet On Talent, how to create a remarkable culture and win the hearts of customers. And if you want to win the hearts of your customers, then you start with this foundation of this remarkable culture, then you add this extraordinary talent that’s been selected based on a character that matches the organization competency that matches the role and chemistry that matches the team. And then you teach them amazing customer service principles.

I didn’t say you hold them accountable to a stack of rules, we all have to have rules at our business. I mean, banking is a great example. You have to have certain rules in the restaurant business you got to have rules around food safety, but everything doesn’t have to be a rule. And if everything is a rule, you’ll never serve customers in the way they want to be served, you have to create some principles that free your team members up to actually serve people in the way they want to be served. And so when you do those, when you start with that remarkable culture, you add extraordinary talent, you teach them amazing customer principles, then you’ll have an organization that delivers on winning the hearts of customers.

Caleb Stevens: And I love the duality if we want to have a meaningful purpose. But we also want to have a mission that’s challenging. In other words, we want to have significance, but we also want to have discipline and some grind and want to go after something and we’re not going to settle for mediocrity. And I think a lot of times we think we hear culture, and we think oh, it’s you know, free beanbags and pillows and days off, and cookies, and just, we’re all soft and nice to each other. And that couldn’t be further from the truth. I think in many cases, you can have a meaningful purpose as well as a mission that really challenges you and it’s hard work.

Dee Ann Turner: Well, when they work in concert, then you’ve really, you know, you have the heart and the head working together. And I really think those core values provide the hands of it, it’s the how it’s the behaviors that are going to demonstrate that purpose and mission. And, again, it’s a three-legged stool, it all has to go together. But it’s, you know, that’s the culture, the kind of cultural strategy that makes a difference in an organization, all those other things you mentioned, those are just, you know, that’s just the behaviors or, what your organization does for fun or whatever. But that’s not the culture, the culture, rest, and the three elements I’ve talked about today.

Caleb Stevens: Well, folks want to get in touch with you. If they’re hearing this and I want to engage further. I want to learn more, how can they hear about your books and engage with you guys further?

Dee Ann Turner: Absolutely. Well, first of all, my website is dee ann That’s d e e a n n, which almost everything can be found there. My podcast is there. My blog is there, you can locate my books there too that are currently for sale Bet On Talent, How To Create A Remarkable Culture That Wins The Hearts Of Customers. And then my latest book, Crush Your Career Ace The Interview Land The Job And Launch Your Future. And then also, I mentioned the download there, of freebies, PDF, and other things that you can sign up for there. And then I’d love to have them connect with me on LinkedIn and Dee Ann Turner at my Facebook page Dee Ann Turner Author and on Instagram at Dee Ann Turner.

Caleb Stevens: Fantastic, well I know This is going to be a show that we’re going to have on repeat around here and I’m sure our listeners will as well. So thank you so much for your time and for sharing your wisdom with us. We appreciate it.

Dee Ann Turner: Caleb and Tom it’s absolutely been my pleasure. Thank you again for having me.

Tom Fitzgerald: Thank you, Dee Ann.


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