2014 Global Leadership Summit Session 6: Don Flow #gls14


Chairman and CEO, Flow Companies Inc.

SESSION 6: Heart Session: A Grander Vision

  • Founded by Don’s father in 1957, Flow Companies now operates 33 automobile dealerships with 1100 employees throughout North Carolina and Virginia
  • Growing up in the business, Flow worked every job at the dealership—and now leads the company based on three guiding principles: 1) trust with customers, 2) a unified employee culture, and 3) a commitment to every city where he does business
  • He serves on numerous boards, including Wake Forest University Trustees, Winston-Salem’s Open ATP Tennis Tournament, is an Elder at First Presbyterian Church and loves mentoring young entrepreneurs

Session Notes

  • 1) How does your faith affect every aspect of your business?
    • 4 ways: prayer, daily leadership interactions, culture of our company, how we engage employees, customers, community.
    • Start my day with prayer
    • Exercising faith at work means coming beside employees not just exercise authority over them.
    • Culture: everything we do comes from ethic of demonstrating neighborly love.
    • 3 foundational commitments: employees, customers, community
      • Always telling the truth
      • Always doing the right thing to our customers
      • Always keeping our promises regardless of cost
    • Employees like “members of the body”
    • Each dealership takes on projects in their community.
    • Pay their employees for time spent serving in the community.
  • 2) What should business look like? What would it look like if there was no fall?
    • Abundance mindset… communion with God… community with others.
    • All workers would use their gifts and reach their full potential.
    • All transactions would leave all parties better off.
  • 3) Metric for evaluating employees?
    • SERVE
    • Show respect – not earned, everyone is respected, every position is respected
    • Earn trust –
    • Reach for Perfection – continuously challenge with confidence, but realize we will not achieve perfection, grace
    • Value Input – from everyone
    • Energize Others – clarity of purpose, significance of their work
  • Missional calling – every church send its people into the workplace (lots of great principles conveyed faster than I could type)

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