Wednesday had been a hectic day for me. You know, one of those days where you add more things to your "to do" list than you're able to check off? Yep. That was my Wednesday, and my schedule was booked every hour into the night. With notes about several open projects strewn across my desk, I headed into the training session and pushed thoughts of the other things to be done out of my head.

A few of us here at Bristol Motor Speedway enjoyed opportunity to sit in on a training session Chick-fil-A hosted here last week. Their company history is fascinating, and I found their commitment to "growing leaders" as opposed to "training managers" is equally admirable.

Wednesday had been a hectic day for me. You know, one of those days where you add more things to your "to do" list than you're able to check off? Yep. That was my Wednesday, and my schedule was booked every hour into the night. With notes about several open projects strewn across my desk, I headed into the training session and pushed thoughts of the other things to be done out of my head.

Introductions and short group exercise behind us, I listened as the workshop facilitator stressed the importance of talking with and really listening to your customers. It’s a tough thing to do at times, and in my opinion, a vital part of any successful business. Pretty simple, really.  Be bold enough to ask for opinions, don’t be afraid of what you might hear, then listen, understand and make adjustments based on the information that’s shared.

Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy took a chance on the idea of partial service eateries in the 1960’s. He failed at first, then took a step back and spent time tinkering with his idea and concept. The entire time, he talked with his business connections and key friends who offered insights and details of their own needs as both consumers and business people. He took what they told him to heart, did some fine-tuning and tried again, keeping his business purpose in mind, to be America’s best quick service restaurant. Looks like it worked. In 2010, Chick-fil-A's annual sales were over $3.6 billion.

Over and over during the workshop, I found similarities between Chick-fil-A's corporate vision and goals and those of Bristol Motor Speedway. Be the best; strive to be better. Ask for opinions; value those you get. Achieve extraordinary results, grow with purpose. Exceed expectations; model and pursue excellence. Definitely messages worth taking time out of the day to hear.

As we were leaving, I walked out with a couple people on the management team of a Chick-fil-A location not too far away. One commented, "This is really an incredible place. I bet you love working here, don’t you?" Yeah, I do… really do. And that's why those of us who are part of Team Bristol keep working to make every event better than the one before it.

It's tough to ask people what you can do to improve. And we lay that question out there often. What could we do to make your experience even better? That's one of the questions I love to ask when we're taking part in a community event or talkin' Bristol with fans at another racing facility.

That's just what several of us did this weekend at the Racks By The Tracks microbrew and barbeque event in downtown Kingsport on Saturday. And, that's what we'll do in Charlotte Motor Speedway during the Coca Cola 600 weekend, at Kentucky Speedway for their inaugural Sprint Cup series weekend in July, plus other community events in the coming months. 

We'd love to see you at each of these, or you can drop us a line with any comments you want to pass along by shooting a note to or by calling our Fan Relations Department at 423.989.6954. We've found it always smart to talk with our fans, and truly listen. And yes, we really want to hear what you have to say.

Our goal is to Exceed Expectations here at Bristol Motor Speedway, and we're working hard to make sure we'll do that during the upcoming Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals June 17-19 and for our NASCAR night races here August 24-27. So call our Ticket Office and get your tickets in order to put us to the test, and make a note on your calendar to let us know afterward about your Bristol experience. I promise we'll listen, and continue to seek ways to make your experience even better.

Yep, the Chick-fil-A sandwich I had this weekend after sitting in on the leadership training tasted even better. Food for sustenance and food for thought from Chick-fil-A, with a side of inspiration to re-energize around a common purpose.

Exceed Expectations. Model and Pursue Excellence. For both of us, it’s really all about you.