Mere Christians

Cheryl Bachelder (Fmr. CEO of Popeyes)

Episode Summary

One of the world’s top CEOs on faith and work

Episode Notes

Jordan Raynor sits down with Cheryl Bachelder, former CEO of Popeyes, to talk about the quote that stopped her in her tracks and led her to understand her calling as “developing leaders for a living,” and how she has learned to embrace her lack of discipline and routine.

Links Mentioned:

Episode Transcription

[00:00:05] JR: Hey, everybody. Welcome to the Call to Mastery. I’m Jordan Raynor. This is a podcast for Christians who want to do their most exceptional work for the glory of God and the good of others. Each week, I host a conversation with a Christ follower who is pursuing world-class mastery of their craft. We talk about their path to mastery, their daily habits, and how the Gospel of Jesus Christ influences their work.


 Today’s guest has been a hero of mine for a long time. Her name is Cheryl Bachelder. She's one of the most exceptional leaders I know, best known for her remarkable turnaround of Popeyes. Over eight years, she grew the business from a market capitalization of less than $300 million to a market cap of $1.3 billion. Before that, she was an executive at Yum Brands, KFC, Pizza Hut, et cetera, Domino's, Nabisco, Gillette and Procter and Gamble.


Today, she serves as a director on the boards of Chick-fil-A and US foods. Cheryl's a world class leader, as you could tell from her resume. So, we sat down and we recently talked about the life changing quote, that Cheryl has thought about every single day for years that changed her life and her perspective about how our work contributes to God's redemptive work in the world. We talked about why she refuses to view her calling as a mother, as higher or more important than her call as a leader in the workplace. We talked about how Cheryl has learned to embrace her lack of discipline and routine. That might sound surprising, coming from somebody who's run really large companies, but Cheryl is admittedly not disciplined. I think you're going to find that part of the conversation really freeing if you can identify with Cheryl. Guys, you're going to love this conversation with Cheryl Bachelder. 




[00:02:06] JR: Cheryl, incredibly honored to have you here. Thanks for joining me.


[00:02:08] CB: It's a pleasure to be here.


[00:02:10] JR: I wish people could hear the stuff that goes on prior to us clicking record. I feel like it's unfair to the audience. We just had such a beautiful conversation. I've been such an admirer of your work for such a long time. So, grateful that you're doing it. Hey, I want to start here, Cheryl, I've already talked about this in the introduction. You've had some unbelievably cool jobs, what's been your favorite and why?


[00:02:33] CB: Among my work roles, my very favorite was the leadership opportunity that I had at Popeyes, in part because it was kind of a capstone life experience where things kind of all seem to come together. It was long and deep and rich. There are so few people that ever get to spend nearly 10 years in the CEOs seat. So, we had the opportunity to build a great brand, a great team, a great turnaround, and to do it by the principles of servant leadership that I had hoped I could prove would have a positive impact on performance. And so, to me, that was just a capstone opportunity. And then the opportunity to tell that story to others in the book there to serve, it just all came together in a way that really was rewarding and hopefully left a bit of a story to tell in the lives of leaders coming up the ranks that want to make a real redemptive impact on the marketplace.


[00:03:30] JR: I love it. I want to dig deeper into that Popeyes case study because I think it's a great picture of how business can be a means of redemption. But first, Cheryl, correct me if I got the timeline here wrong. But during your time at Popeyes, you still had three daughters at home. Is that right?


[00:03:47] CB: My daughters were college-age and high school by then. So, growing up, but yes, I have chosen very deliberately to be married and to have children and now grandchildren. Family is a very important part of my worldview. So, yes, my husband Chris and I have been married 40 years. We have three now adult daughters, two of them raising their own families and one still single. But yes, I'm so glad you asked, because you know, most people when you have a business career, they like, never ask you anything about home.


[00:04:21] JR: Well, here's why I'm asking, because I'm in this season of life right now. I have three daughters, three young daughters, seven, five and one. And at the same time, this is the time of incredibly rapid growth in my career. And I think the same thing happened to you too, prior to Popeyes. Looking back, were there sacrifices that you chose to make professionally for that season, because of your commitment to your family?


[00:04:49] CB: Well, the first thing I always say though, about my family value is when I went into a career, I knew I was called to a career, but I knew I was called to raise a family. So, there was no difference in the strength of those callings and my worldview. So, were there tension points? Yes. All the time. Were there tradeoffs? Yes. All the time. Did I always make the right ones? No, I'm sure I did not.


So, your question about sacrifice, all callings are sacrificial. And so, to think that you're called to leadership in your home and leadership in the workplace, there is going to be painful sacrifice. And oh, by the way, not just for you, the leader, but for your family. My kids had some stress moments when we weren't sure my plane was going to land in time for me to get to the school play. I wish I had not caused them stress. But when I walked in the back of the church at the Christmas play, Katie's eyes lit up like candles, right? Because Mom made it.


There were lots of moments of tension. But my husband and I, again, it was a partnership. We did our level best. One of us was always home at night, we took turns traveling, which meant we sometimes weren't both home at the same time, which is a sacrifice. But we tried to make both our work calling and our family, our highest priorities. Another sacrifice, to be honest, I didn't have a bunch of girlfriends. I didn't go to a bunch of church Bible studies on Tuesday nights. I did my leadership calling I did my home calling and other things had to go for that to be done. So, I just tried to be really honest and realistic with people that are in your stage of life, Jordan, because expect tension.


[00:06:39] JR: Yeah, and get comfortable with it. Just like recognizing it's there. So, I love that you say that there's no distinction between these coins. There's no hierarchy of the calling in the marketplace and the calling at home. I think one's more unique, obviously. You're the only one who could parent your children. But I love it because you don't see Jesus doing this in the Gospels. I love this scene where he's preaching, his disciples come to him and say, “Hey, your family's outside, and they want to talk to you.” And that's where he utters His famous line about, “Who are my mothers and who are my brothers”, right?


But the fascinating story there is that he didn't say, “Well, guys, I'm preaching. But my family's here. You know the rules. God first, family second, work third.” He didn't do that, right? I think these like hierarchies are just unnecessary, and a lot of times really hurtful. So, for me, what I'm trying to figure out right now Cheryl, ask a very selfish question like, with young kids, all of them girls, how do I help them understand that the call to parenthood can be just as high a call as the call to business? Or the arts or pastoral men? Whatever it is? How can I help them see that?


[00:07:53] CB: Well, first of all, talking to your kids about these things is really, really important. At a very young age, I will tell you, one of the central influences of my life was my father. And my father talked to me about his call to leadership all the time. He took me with him on business trips, and he showed me the work he was doing and the impact it was having. And it was that transparency and that trust that yes, so I'm not 35 yet, I can understand I can take lessons from it. Maybe the most important lesson I took from it is that I was important enough in his life, for him to teach me his leadership skills and his faith values and to talk to me about these things, and not leave me to just enter the world willy-nilly, with no construct.


I was prepared for my life by the investment my parents made and giving me an understanding of how life works, a great education, deep rooted faith, values. I mean, that's how it works. I love what you said, Jesus didn't parcel life into different buckets and now we're working at work, and now we're working at home, and now we're working in our community, and now we're going to do something, really giving over here. No. It was all one thing to him. I'll tell you the little mystery that I didn't figure out. It took me a long time to figure it out, is that I just have one calling to do with my faith, and it applies to my work, my community, and my children.


So, let me tell you how that goes. My calling is to develop leaders that are purpose driven, and competent, and exhibiting character traits in all aspects of their life. So, guess what, that's my role with my daughters is to raise them up to be glorifying God by responding to his call and being competent and have high character. I told my daughters, I will be as proud of you if you are a stay-at-home mom, as if you are a CEO. I have no interest in which one of those things God calls you to do because it is between you and God, and I will endorse and support you, but I'm expecting you to know God, and to put his calling to work in your life and to do it to the best of your abilities.


And guess what, that's what my girls are doing. One of them is a stay-at-home mom, one of them is in the workplace, and one of them is still figuring out what she's doing in life. So, I just love the spot that it's one thing and for working women, let me talk for just a second about that. Working women may be feeling these tensions the toughest, because they have a lot of responsibilities in the home and a lot of guilt around whether they do them up to par. What I say to working women, if you're confident that your call is to the workplace, and please don't miss that point, be sure, examine the call, make sure it is a call that God has for your life. And if it is, then organize your purpose in a way that incorporates your family. Do not live a separate life and do not try to make your life please other people. All those are dead ends. You're trying to please guide by living this integrated life, complicated as it is, to serve Him and glorify His name. And by the way, I would always say my calling, it does not look like intelligent design. It looks crazy.


[00:11:26] JR: I know the feeling. I know the feeling. So, Cheryl, we've danced around this. We talked a little bit about before we started recording. Your call to business, how is that an expression of your faith? How do you see business partnering with God in His redemptive purposes in the world? Very broad question, but I'm interested to see where you take this.


[00:11:48] CB: So, I just became convicted there was something wrong in business leadership, early in my career, through experience. I looked at leaders, I looked at magazine articles about leaders, I looked at their actions, and I said, “This is corrupt, it is wrong, it is toxic.” I can't get my mind off this problem. And then I read this one quote that I literally think about every day of my life. It was from Max Stackhouse, who was at that time teaching at the Princeton Theological Seminary, and he wrote a book called On Moral Business, or actually he assembled a book of teachings on moral business.


In the foreword, he said, “Increasingly, business leaders will be the steward of civilization.” And I went, “Oh, my goodness.” I didn't sleep for two days. Because what he nailed is he then goes on to explain, if all the other institutions fail to rise up and lead society, in my worldview, as God intended, what if it falls to a business leader? Are we ready for that call? And the answer was decidedly, no. In my generation, everybody was flaming out in ethical disasters. I'm the Enron WorldCom, Tyco generation. I'm a tragic leadership generation. And God made it clear to me that that was wrong, that he wanted to restore and redeem work. He intended work for good, not for self-interest, ego, excesses, misuse of power.


So, I cemented my calling around that idea that I was part of his team, God's team to restore and redeem work. And then I would tell you, where we go to in our faith construct, is we then look at the best leader that ever walked the earth, and that is Jesus Christ. Every trait he evidenced and witnessed in his ministry is a trait that needs to be expressed in the marketplace. He listened patiently. He was deeply concerned with everyone he encountered. He was challenging people to be better. He was merciful. He was just. He treated people with dignity. He gave them hope. Do we not need those traits in our leaders in the workplace? We are starved for those traits.


Here I am, I am evangelizing this one because I would like some more of you on the field. I would like some more of you to join us there. Because if you're designed for that call, if that call, my pastor Andy Stanley says do the one thing that just breaks your heart. If that breaks your heart, you need to get on the field and help restore and redeem work for good, as it was designed to be.


[00:14:37] JR: Amen. So well said. I think one aspect of Jesus's life that Christian or non-Christian today can get on board with, is Jesus did everything well. We see this embark one of my favorite descriptions of Jesus, he has done everything well, as a carpenter. We got to imagine, we don't have evidence of this, but we got to imagine Jesus made excellent tables. But how does your approach, Cheryl, to vocational excellence? How do you think that differs from the non-Christians pursuit of mastery of their craft? How does a Christian approach excellence differently?


[00:15:13] CB: Well, I think the question that comes to my mind is who is the excellence for? I believe Christian’s view of leadership is that we're in service to the people in the enterprise, that we are to subdue ourselves and make decisions that are in service to the people in the enterprise. I'm not saying I do that every day and I'm not saying that's easy, but that's the high call. So, if that's the high call, then mastery and excellence are part of that call. I used to say, when I was teaching servant leadership, in my Popeyes days. I say to people, “How can there be excellence in servant leadership if the franchisees don't make money?” I mean, how can there be opportunity for the people If the company does not grow? I mean, business, it does have a purpose and I do believe it has a purpose of creating profit or wealth, or whatever you want to call that outcome. It results, it has a purpose of creating results.


Out of those monies, if you will, that we create, there to be reinvested in the world and there would be no charity, by the way, if there was no wealth. I don't find profit evil. I find the way we go about it could be evil. But profit in itself is not evil, and neither is performance. So, I actually believe that Christians need to be challenged to a higher standard of excellence in the workplace. And non-Christians need to be challenged to look at these Christian values of patience and mercy and treating people with dignity. And together, we could advance and restore and redeem work. I really believe for the non-Christian. They ought to look to the principles of Christianity, not the Christians that have disappointed them. We all disappoint. But instead of saying, “Well, I don't like Christians, because Christians disappoint.” Look at the principles and ask yourself, “Does the workplace need more of these principles?” When I talk about servant leadership in secular settings, people generally agree that we need more of that in the world.


[00:17:22] JR: Yeah, because it gets results. In excellence, is winsome. I talked about this so much on this podcast. Mastery is one of the most winsome things in the world. People want to be around world-class performers, who are also just world-class people, right? Good people, they're kind and they're competent is another way to say it. And man, what a way to earn credibility and point people to Christ, as a means of doing that. You mentioned Jesus showing dignity to others. I want to dive a little bit deeper there because you spent 10 years at Popeyes, I got to imagine that staff in the restaurant industry are not treated with the highest levels of dignity at all times. And as Christ followers, we know that all work has dignity. So, I'm curious how you demonstrated that truth practically, up and down the org charts of your career?


[00:18:15] CB: Well, in the business model I worked in we had franchise owners and those owners hired and lead the people. So, the franchisee really had created the culture of that workplace. And so, there was a wide range of culture from those franchisees that understood the stewardship responsibility of their leadership, and there were those who didn't. But I'm telling you, I used to say what takes 60 seconds when you walked in a restaurant to tell the difference, because if the leader had created the conditions for that team to be successful, they were vibrantly delivering on the promise, right? They were organized, they were trained, they were positive, they were killing it.


One particular restaurant I walked into, I'll give you two short restaurant stores. One, I walk in, and it's just they're flying, the food is going out the drive-thru window at the speed of light, and everybody smiling. That never happens. So, that was really exciting to see. You could see it 60 seconds, I look at the general manager, and I said, “I'm not going to interrupt you for long but just explained to me how you get this happy place, doing this much volume at lunch? “You're just killing it.” And she goes, “We were prepared for this. This is what we came ready to do.” And I thought, “I love it.” She understood her role was to prepare the team to be excellent, and to be trained, and to be prepared to run a $2 million store that day with excitement and energy and positivity.


The leader’s role is just that to set the team up for excellence and for success and for happiness. The leaders that get that, oh, my god. Aren't they fun to work for? Nobody was walking around and they're going, “This is that crummy day. it's raining outside. I'm not happy.” No, they had the vibe of, “I'm ready and I'm excited and I want to be excellent.” They were feeling it.


Another great general manager in the back in a restaurant Chicago, I said to her, I said, “You have joy all over your face. How does the leader in this complex, messy place have joy?” And she said, “Oh, because you don't understand all my amazing roles as leader. I am a social worker, a parent, a confidant, a priest, a teacher.” She went through like 8 to 10 roles that she defined as her stewardship responsibility. Her kids that worked for her were getting B plus or better in high school, and they were all going to graduate. She was so psyched about that. That was her contribution to their lives. She had created a little family, having positive impact on people's lives. That's the possibility of leadership at the frontline. It's the same possibility if you're in the C suite, is invest in these lives, lift them up, make them better, prepare them for the day. This is the role of leadership, and it's fun to do. Isn’t it not fun to lift people up and prepare them for more success? I don't think there's anything more fun.


[00:21:21] JR: It's a great reminder of something I talked about on a podcast a long time ago with Joel Manby. Do you know, Joel?


[00:21:27] CB: Of course, he was on my board.


[00:21:28] JR: Yeah. Joel Manby, former CEO of SeaWorld, just talking about how customer happiness never rises above team happiness. I think Disney is the best picture of this in the world. Go to Disney, drive a few miles down the road, go to Universal or another theme park in Central Florida. The difference is team happiness. Right? The team members feel dignity, feel purpose in their work. You talked a little bit about this before that it's the leader’s job to help the team member see the purpose of their work. How have you done that throughout your career?


[00:22:06] CB: Well, I love the Disney example. Because the clarity of purpose and principles at Disney, it's just crystal clear. Number one, safety. Number two, the customer, just the end. It's very, very clear. And the same had to be true in leading Popeyes. We created a purpose statement and six principles that we wanted to govern our behavior on a daily basis. The purpose was we wanted to inspire servant leaders to achieve superior results. That's the nutshell we just talked about, is lead out of the tenants of servant leadership, but do so to create excellence and performance.


The six principles that were suitable to that cause and to our business were passion. Because guess what, franchisee entrepreneurs are passionate, we need to love passion, we need to respect it, we need to hear it. Second, we need to listen carefully and learn continuously because that's what servant leaders do. It's not about them. It's about taking the input from the team, and constantly growing and capability to be more effective.


Number three was we are fact-based and planful. We govern ourselves by real information and analytics. We're not afraid to stare down the facts. Number four, we coach and develop our people. Guess what, we invest a lot of time in coaching and developing our people because we think people are our greatest asset. Five, we are personally accountable in the picture that goes with that as a puzzle piece. We're all part of a puzzle and we let one another down if we don't take accountability for our piece of the action, and deliver well on it. Last but not least, maybe the most important, we value humility. And we said to people, we're not going to say we are humble, because that's pretty flawed thought. We’re anything but humble.


[00:23:54] JR: Look at how humble we are.


[00:23:57] CB: Exactly. Let’s have a principle called we are humble. But we said no. It's our value of humility, our willingness to subdue ourselves in service to another. That's what we aspire to and hold high. Therefore, with these six principles, we can call each other out and we can become better. We can say, “We aspire to be these principles. Are we living it? Did I see it in that meeting? And if not, can we try better tomorrow?” Those were the guideposts and I said this very important thing. Why don't you try to do those things before you put them on a plaque? I'm so sick accompanies with plaque, because Enron had a great plaque. All these companies have great plaques but you asked about what they say and nobody can remember.


So, are these principles actually been embedded in the vocabulary and the behaviors of your company? That's the most important thing and maybe five years into it, put up a plaque.


[00:24:53] JR: I love that. Once you have proven that you actually value these things. I'm a big believer of core values. They're not defined, they’re discovered. They're on earth. What do we actually value? What do we actually believe? I'm curious, Cheryl, with regards to humility, because I do think that is, A, maybe the key on the path to mastering anything vocationally. What advice would you give our listeners as to how to exhibit humility practically, as they seek to develop their craft? How does that manifest itself?


[00:25:25] CB: Well, I use the guiding principle of the definition of humility is to count others as more significant than yourself. It's Philippians 2:3. It's simple, it's clear. And so, is putting that into action in each opportunity or each decision. Simple examples of how you might put it into action, how much time do you spend in coaching and developing your people. In the marketplace, that number is very small. We joke about our annual performance reviews, 55 minutes of what's wrong with us and five minutes of great, thanks, you're doing a great job. No wonder people are not motivated or engaged. It's a terrible set of practices that we have.


Are you meeting weekly or biweekly with your direct reports? Are you giving them a good hour? Are you making all your experience and wisdom available to them, but at their request, not your lecture series? Are you listening in that time and asking them how you can bring resources to bear? How you can bring other skills to bear in the organization? How you can help them overcome an obstacle? What are you doing as a leader that's truly at service to your direct reports and setting them up for success? That is humility.


Another human example is I love it when people come in and ask for a raise for themselves. So, the interesting thing is they never walk in and say, “I've done a marketplace assessment of all my team members, and we're out of sync on compensation in the marketplace.” No, they always come in and say, “I kind of think I need a raise.” I just find that self-serving. Have I done that? Yes, we're all capable. So, what the higher aspiration is, instead of asking for a raise, ask whether your team is appropriately compensated. Do an objective and analytical assessment. And by the way, people that'll help you too, okay. But don't put forth that you're just working so darn hard, you need a raise above all others. That's self-interest.


So, just helping people understand that it really is putting into action, this idea. Okay, the other one is an underperformer. You walk in the boss's office and what people always say, “I have an underperformer. I want to fire them.” My first question is, “What have you as the leader done to set them up for success?” The end. I don't want to hear about their underperformance and you want to fire them. I want to know what you did to set them up for success. Maybe we'll get to that decision. I'm open to it. But not before we examine you and your leadership and setting them up for success.


[00:28:05] JR: Well, that goes back to accountability. Extreme accountability. I love Jocko Willink’s book, Extreme Ownership. You take ownership of the problem. Go back to this idea of comp, I love this. I want to go a level deeper here. Because I think it's such a great practical example of loving your coworkers as yourself, going into the room, especially if you're somebody who, because of your gender, because of your race, because of your background, whatever, has greater social capital and power within a workplace to walk in the room and sacrifice that and say, “Hey, listen is my team, is the team and my coworkers adequately compensated?” I love that. Have you seen somebody actually do that? Actually walk in a room and ask that question?


[00:28:48] CB: Oh, yeah, and I've seen it in the CEO office. There are good examples of this. One great example is for a CEO to say, “I won't accept a compensation plan that is not the same as what my team has.” That's a really good principle. Now, CEOs get paid more than VPs. But the principles of that compensation if it's 60% incentive pay, yours should be too. You should not be gaining at the expense of others. You should be commonly, as I would love an ESOP. I never got to work in one, but that's kind of my ideal world is why couldn't we all be owners? I'll be marching towards the same goals and I'll be compensated richly for it. There are not many companies that get that close to the ideal. But that's the principle is am I incentivizing my people in the same fashion that I would want to be incentivized myself?


[00:29:45] JR: Your great book, Dare to Serve. You talked about how it takes courage to focus on the few initiatives that are really game-changers in an organization. The hard things that are really going to move the needle. Why do you say it takes courage to focus on those things?


[00:30:03] CB: This is one of my pet peeves in leadership. So, I'm so glad you raised it, because for some reason, and all I can attribute it to is human nature. Ordinary leaders shy from tackling the game-changing strategies that are really to the essential future of the enterprise. And they say things like, “Well, people have tried that before or it's hard, or I might fail.” The fear factors come up. But essentially, if the leader does not act on the transformative, hard, game-changing strategies for the business, they underserve the people in the enterprise. Essentially, they're being risk-averse and that's the biggest risk you can take in leadership is to be risk-averse.


So, I think courage is greatly underestimated and under-practiced in leadership. The specific example I'd give you at Popeyes is, when I got there, we took an inventory of what we were working on. There were 128 active projects at the home office. None of them were changing the trajectory of the business. Our sales were down, our profits were down, our people were unhappy. Our franchisees hated us. I mean, there wasn't a good metric anywhere. We thought we were working on 128 important things. The scariest thing I asked the team to do was to work on seven or eight and let go of all those little pet projects that weren't doing anything.


[00:31:32] JR: I think, CEO or not, you can be a CEO, you can be a marketing manager, you can be a carpenter. I think everybody struggles with how do I take the 128 things and whittle it down to the seven or eight things that truly matter? In other words, how do I discern the essential from the noise? How do you and your teams, how have you historically done that, Cheryl?


[00:31:54] CB: Well, we actually did it as a group. We took the top 40 people of our organization, we had about 200 total employees at the time, so a big chunk of senior leadership. And we've had them put the problems on the wall that were holding back the performance of the company. Guess what, they knew them all. Okay, it wasn't hard. They put them all up on the board. And then I asked them to prioritize them, the little sticky note game where you put your stickies on the ones that are most important. They didn't really have any trouble picking the most important roadblocks to our success.


The problem was they weren't working. There was no plan to work on those things. So, one of the 30-year employees I had asked the question at the group, “Would you like to tackle those priorities?” And Sandra stood up and said, “I'd give anything to tackle those priorities. I've been here 30 years, and we've never taken them head on. So how are we in service to the enterprise if we don't do the hard things?” Real simple example, we had the slowest drive-thru of among all quick service restaurants on that day, the slowest, 98 out of 100 in the ranking, and we were embarrassed, and we knew it was holding back the throughput of our restaurants. That's called sales. We all knew that and we weren't working on a fix. We didn't even have headsets in the restaurants to take your order. So, how dumb can we be?


[00:33:13] JR: It's not dumb, though, right? It's fear. Because you just point this out. When you gave people with sticky notes and said prioritize the to-do list, they did it easily. Everyone knew what the priorities were. But it takes courage to say, I'm going to stop spreading myself thin across a bunch of different things. I know what's important. I know, this is the work God's called me to do in this season of this business, of this career, whatever. These are the few things that matter and I'm going to focus on them. It takes courage because those are the hard things. As Christ followers especially, we are called to do hard things, right?


[00:33:47] CB: We are. I mean, favorite verse of all time, be strong and courageous, be strong and courageous, be strong and courageous. I mean, if you're going to be Joshua and be trying to fulfill Moses’ calling, oh my goodness, you better be strong and courageous. My favorite part of that chapter one, in Joshua is, most people miss it. It says, “Be strong and courageous for I go with you in all that you do. I go with you in all that you do.”


So, as Christians, the cool thing is, we're not alone when we do courageous acts. Their acts we're doing on behalf of our God called to do as you said, we can be the most courageous of all. We can act with the least fear, because he goes ahead, beside and behind. He helps us do the big things. He helps clean up our messes. He's got the ball. So, why not be the most courageous people? Why don't we model that attribute for all the workplace to see because we have all people should be confident in our faith, that we do not go alone and we do not act out of fear.


[00:34:52] JR: And confident in our God. This is what I love about the biblical vision of courage. It has nothing to do with us. God didn't tell Joshua be strong and courageous because you can do it. All throughout Scripture, He's told his people, you can't do it. When Moses says I'm inadequate, the Lord basically says, “Yep, you're right. But I will be with you.” He is the object of our faith. He is the source of our courage and our ability to risk. Thank you for reminding us of that, Cheryl. Hey, I love to ask people in the podcast about their daily habits, daily routines. I'm curious for you, in this season of your life. What's a typical day look like for you, Cheryl?


[00:35:29] CB: Well, people would call me I guess, semi-retired. I don't know what that word means. But I still have a very active life, work, family, community, nonprofit, very active. I still have pretty strong routines that I've developed through this whole long life in the marketplace. But I think the most important lesson I bring to this topic of routines, is routines and discipline do not come naturally to my nature. I'm wired largely as a creative strategist, a visionary. I like big, creative, inspired ideas. I don't love a lot of detail, a lot of discipline, a lot of routine. So, I think the most helpful thing I could say is, there's probably some other people out there like me, that are struggling with getting into that perfect daily routine. I want to free you have that expectation and allow you to be just as creative in your routines, as you are in your thinking about new products.


Because that's what I've had to do. I do have a daily quiet time. But if I use the same routine every day to do that, I would quit on day three. My brain would just tune out and quit. I change it up. I try new studies, I try new podcasts, I use new tools, new inputs, and people laugh at me because I always have a planner of the year. Right now, I'm using something called cultivate what matters. But I'll probably only use it three years and then I'll try some other planner strategy, because I need to be fresh and excited about the routine.


So, my routine definitely has quiet time. We have to have quiet time to lead. But you can do daily quiet time and you can also once a month, take an entire day and go sit by a stream in the forest. I like to do that. I like to use larger blocks of quiet time to hear from the Lord and calm myself down and get total clarity. That's a very important habit just like the 30 minutes of daily time.


I want to give people permission – a friend of mine gave me a great help on this point. She lost 100 pounds, which is really hard to do. So, I just lovingly said, “I just want to know how on earth you made that life change happen for yourself?” And she said, “Here's what you need to know, you need to do the things that work for you. For me, I needed to sleep more, I needed to drink no alcohol, and I needed to be gluten-free. And that allowed me to be free of this weight problem.” But she said, “Don't take my rules, create the ones that work for you.” That's what I've done with routines. I walk three times a week. But I walk in lots of different places with lots of different things on my headset. As I said, I study different things.


But here's a couple things I always do. I always eat three meals a day, because I think that's healthy. I always have dinner with my family. Today, that's my husband, which we're in year 40 of marriage, but there's still work to do to make sure we have quality time, quality communication with each other. We still do a date night thing that's just us, where we go out. We, every summer, take three days and go to the wilderness together for three days. So, I have routines that invest in my most important relationships, as well as my productivity for serving in the marketplace.


[00:38:36] JR: I love that so much. Thank you for saying that. I think one of the most frequent refrains in my new book called Redeeming Your Time, is whatever works for you works, right? Whatever works, works. I think the principles in that book of how Jesus stewarded his time on Earth are universal, but there's a lot of freedom. God's given us freedom and how we go about doing the work that he's called us to do. So, thank you for reminding us of that. 


Alright, Cheryl, three questions we end every conversation with. Number one, which books do you find yourself recommending or gifting most frequently to others?


[00:39:12] CB: If I'm your friend, I'm like a Book of the Month Club. I always have a new book.


[00:39:16] JR: I love it. All right, great. What's the latest one?


[00:39:19] CB: I'm really an avid reader. Well, right now I'm reading Faith for Exiles by David Kinnaman and Mark Matlock. It's five ways for a new generation to follow Jesus and digital Babylon. I just love that title, digital Babylon. It's just great, because I'm at the stage of life where I'm investing back in next gen leadership and I want to give them really concrete tools for how to redeem the workplace with good Jesus follower practices. So, that's my current favorite. But another one, I'm a huge Dallas Willard fan. So, my other kind of solid favorites, Soul Keeping by John Ortberg, and The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer, because I think we're just ill in society today around soul keeping and hurry, and we need constant reminders of how to reduce that noise in our lives. Those would be my current favorites.


[00:40:07] JR: Those are great books. You can find them all at Okay, Cheryl, who do you most want to hear on this podcast talking about how the gospel shapes their work?


[00:40:16] CB: I'm going to give you a name that you probably don't know. His name is Walt Rakowich. He’s the retired CEO of Prologis and the author of a book called, TransfluenceHow to Lead with Transformative Influence in Today's Climate of Change. He's a very successful turnaround business guy. His business was supply chain distribution business that you wouldn't know right off the bat. But he is a rich teacher, and deep in his Christian faith, and very committed to sharing back what he's learned.


The reason I recommend him to you, though, as well is the next generation leader needs to think about large organizations. I understand Millennials all want to be entrepreneurs, and I'm happy for you. But somebody has to run our large organizations because we live in a large, complex society. And whether it's a healthcare organization or a supply chain organization, we need some of you to take that hill with God's redemptive and restorative workplace intent. So, you would get a real teaching moment from Walt on that topic. I urge you to give him a listen. He's awesome.


[00:41:23] JR: Yeah, that's a great tip. I'll chase down, Walt, for sure. All right, Cheryl, you're talking to an audience of Christ followers who want to do great work to advance the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. What do you want to leave them with? Maybe something from today's conversation that you just want to reiterate before we sign off.


[00:41:39] CB: What I want to reiterate, is, as Christian people, it's very easy to kind of get the architecture of your beliefs down on paper, and to talk to them as we have today. But the most important thing is to live them out. So, my challenge to you is what are you doing to live out what you believe in the marketplace, in your community, in your home? Because that's the evidence of your calling. That's the proof. So, get out on the field and live it out.


[00:42:06] JR: There'll be known by our love and our good works that glorify the Father Jesus said, right? Cheryl, I just want to commend you for the exceptional redemptive work you have done, are doing. Thank you for being just such a great example of a Christ-like leadership looks like. On a personal note, I love it when I have guests that come on that I'm excited to point my young girls to as they get older and understand these concepts. So, thank you for being one of those guests. Guys, you can learn more about Cheryl at We'll make sure to put that link right here in the show notes. Cheryl, thanks for joining us.


[00:42:44] CB: Thank you, Jordan.




[00:42:46] JR: I hope you guys loved that episode, as much as I did. Hey, if you did, make sure you're following The Call to Mastery in your favorite podcast app, so you never miss an episode in the future. If you're already following the show, please take 30 seconds, go leave a review of the podcast. I always love seeing in your reviews. Who's been your favorite episode to date? So, please put that in there. We'd love to read about it. Guys. Thank you so much for tuning in. I'll see you next week.