Business leaders urged to expand their vision

By Riley Manning/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Dr. Larry Cox has come a long way from his humble roots in Carroll County.
Having set foot in locales from Greece to China, Cox – senior director of international and operational services of Chick-Fil-A’s WinShape Foundation – spoke Friday to the Fellowship of Christian Business Leaders on the impact of the foundation’s principles across the globe.
“I came out of the hills near Greenwood. Farming is in my blood,” Cox said. “Farming took me into agricultural mission work at the edge of the Sahara desert in Africa. So when I came to WinShape International, I already had some experience under my belt.”
WinShape International is the foundation’s newest program. It selects Chick-Fil-A owners and operators to travel internationally to teach the company’s business principles in 70 countries.
“The companies we choose to help are Christ-centered and kingdom-focused,” Cox said. “Though there are no Chick-Fil-As outside the U.S., we still see these organizations as our partners, and we want to help them achieve their goals.”
Cox said the secret lies in serving others in the name of Jesus.
While in another country, participants will spend free time doing compassion projects for the surrounding community, spreading the word and building relationships.
“One summer we worked in a Chinese village that had never seen Americans before, and the first thing we did was help them fix up their houses. Can you imagine a better first impression for the gospel,” he said.
The principles they carry with them include having a vision, treating employees well, and embodying the values of a particular company. T
The lesson for participants comes in getting outside of their comfort zone.
“When I was in college, I had to learn French. It was hard, so I dropped the class,” Cox said. “But lo and behold, God later put me in a country where they only spoke French, and I learned it. God will equip you with what you need, but you must also be willing.”
Cox left the group with a challenge to break out of their own comfort zone.
He told of a village in Cairo, Egypt, situated on the edge of the Nile River.
Every morning, the villagers would see a fisherman releasing large fish he caught and keeping the small ones.
One day, a villager shouted “Why do you throw back the big fish?” to which the fisherman replied “Because I have a small pan!”
“What size is your pan?” Cox asked. “How big is your vision and how big does God want your vision to be?”
riley.manning@journalinc.com