I recently had the chance to talk to Fellowship alumni, Zach Bynum, about his Fellowship experience and how their organizational culture is driving growth for Christian Brothers Automotive. For those that don’t know, The Fellowship is a 4-day culture masterclass I founded in order to help members of the Unstoppable Cultures community, just like you, gain in-person coaching on how they can build and sustain a culture of enduring greatness! I loved hearing how the ideas and concepts Zach learned have made an impact on the culture at Christian Brothers Automotive. Additionally, they have developed four core values and culture commitments that I admire:
- Neighborly – Embracing and encouraging diverse perspectives
- Transparency – Communicating with honestly, purpose, and humility
- Excellence – Be what you expect of others
- Joy – Have fun in the process
Read below to learn more from Zach and how these core values and commitments have impacted CBA’s culture.
Q: Tell us a little about Christian Brothers Automotive- what unique thing do you love about your Culture?
Christian Brothers Automotive was founded in 1982 on a new idea in the auto service industry: what if the customer service experience could actually be an easy, pleasant one? We started franchising automotive repair facilities in 1996 all across the nation and have 250 locations today across 30 states. We’re so blessed and thankful for this company and for the foundation that it was built upon.
What I love most about this company is the culture. Our founder, Mark Carr, laid a firm foundation. About three years ago, Donnie Carr became our president and is now our CEO. Donnie has really sparked the culture of our company. Donnie and I worked together years ago at a kids summer camp and there was an amazing culture there that he has been able to translate into Christian Brothers Automotive.
Q: What’s the number one thing you gained by attending The Fellowship?
The number one takeaway that I walked away with actually was from you, Ginger! There was a statement you made that has just stuck with me and really been my call to action: “Storytelling is what gives our brands emotion and helps make a connection with us and our guests.” This has helped us connect not just with our guests, but connect with our entire Christian Brothers Automotive family.
We have hundreds of team members around the country and hundreds of lives we have the opportunity to care for. A lot of our store team members are on the front lines. They’re the busiest people in our organization. After attending The Fellowship, we realized we weren’t doing a good job of telling them about the impact that we’ve been able to make because of their work.
We have the Christian Brothers Automotive Foundation and we made a pledge to give a percentage of royalty revenues received away. Over the years, we’ve had the opportunity to give millions of dollars away. We don’t talk about the numbers as much as we talk about the stories. We took what we learned from The Fellowship back home and became better at sharing these stories so that our frontline employees could see the fruits of their labor and feel encouraged.
Q: What did you walk away with that you were able to implement immediately?
We implemented several different things coming out of The Fellowship. First, we created a Culture Committee which is made up of eight different Home Office team members who were nominated by our leadership team. Each member serves a two-year term and they really guide the culture of Christian Brothers Automotive.
We also created our Difference Maker Program. At CBA, we have four core values and then 16 culture commitments. When we see team members going above and beyond these culture commitments or these core values, they’re then nominated to win a Difference Maker Award. The Culture Committee reviews the nominations and they vote on a Difference Maker. The Difference Maker can win things like a preferred parking place, an extra day of vacation, a swag bag, etc.
Q: What was your favorite part of The Fellowship?
Authenticity and transparency. It was so cool to get to sit next to David Salyers (a Fellowship Culture Pioneer and former Chick-fil-A VP) at dinner. He had just given a presentation and I made it a point to sit next to him at dinner and talk to him.
Same thing with you Ginger, which is why we’re so excited to have you speak at our annual convention! We want people to see you and hear from you because of your authenticity and transparency.
Q: What has been your biggest obstacle in implementing these changes and building culture in your organization?
Number one obstacle is pace. When we came back there were so many great things we wanted to implement, but we realized that it wasn’t realistic to implement everything. So, we took a step back to look at what were our top ideas from The Fellowship and how we can implement them in a way that has a huge impact and tremendous engagement, but is still respectful of everyone’s time.
Q: Who would you recommend to attend The Fellowship?
I think it’s so important to send people from various departments, such as human resources, your culture department, and any customer-facing leaders. Additionally, I think nonprofit organizations would benefit so much from this. Nonprofits are constantly serving and pouring into the lives of others and I think that The Fellowship was so fantastic because it just poured into our lives.
About Zach Bynum:
Zach is the Vice President of Neighborly. Zach has been on the Christian Brothers Automotive team since 2007. He is uniquely positioned to focus on the CBA Vision, which is “To build a world class company that brings glory to God, is customer-centric, and a light in the auto repair industry.” Zach bridges the collective efforts of the CBA Corporation and CBA Foundation to maximize spiritual impact.
I’m so grateful for Zach’s kind words and proud of all CBA is accomplishing after their time at The Fellowship. Together, we truly can build Unstoppable Cultures!
P.S. If you’re interested in learning more about The Fellowship, click here. I’d love to see you there!