The Long View
Are you doing the right thing?
I am not talking about making mistakes, like calculating a budget wrong or bumping your car into another, or even bottoming out your dad’s car because you were driving too fast for road conditions (which swiftly earns you the nickname “Crash” throughout your teens). But understand, these are just mistakes, growing pains as they say.
What I mean is when you embark to do things are you doing it for you or for all? Are you doing it with compassion, honesty, and integrity? The answer to those questions will help determine if you are doing the right thing. If you want to know how our company has sustained ourselves going on 20+ years, that’s it. It is that simple. It’s just doing your best for others, being fair, and of course, being honest.
“We don’t look at the bottom line of our P&L as often as we look at who we are and how we do what we do.”
Now don’t get me wrong, we have had our challenges as a company. A couple of doozies actually. But, we hit them head-on. Dealt with them with vigor and total accountability and in the end things became even better than expected. It got better because we did the right thing, even in the most difficult times. And how did we manage that, do you ask? Because our foundation was already set. We just needed to rely on it and plow forward with the same conviction to “do the right thing” that we have always held.
To be honest, I wish I could rewind a few years and shake out the chaotic nonsense sooner rather than later. That phrase “if I only I knew then what I know now” resonates and irritates me at the same time. Live and learn, I suppose.
“I know we are truly successful here and now, not because of our bottom line,
but how we feel about who we are.”
Some of our measurements on how healthy our company is can be summed up by our vendor partnerships. Vendors have referred their clients to us more often than I can count, and in turn we do the same. Also, our good name and nature impacts even our competitors. Recently, we learned that a competitor working with a mutual vendor made sure that our project needs were met before their requirements were added. So yes, doing the right thing feels good, but it is not totally a selfless act because we are getting something big out of it as well. “What goes around comes around” – now that phrase I like.
So, am I proud of our company? Damn right I am! But you need to understand what I mean by “Our Company.” Our company is “the people,” our people. Christina, Amy C., Ann Marie, Leah, Kim, Jamie, Ed, Scott, Mary, Laura, Sarah, and all the additional support staff that drop what they are doing to help us in the busy seasons. If they did not have the “do the right thing” mindset, character and conviction already deeply ingrained in who they are then none of this would work. It’s not a company mandate or an order on how to behave. It is just who they are and in turn that’s what makes us, our company, who we are.
Feel free to copy our way of life. The payoff is immeasurable.
I recommend reading this article. The author expresses himself in a way that hits home for us.
Footnote: I had asked a starving 3rd-year graduate student who is also editor-in-chief of a journal to proof this blog for me. I offered to pay, and her comment was; “Nahh, It took me maybe a half hour. Happy to help!” - Boy she was raised right! (Always read the footnotes, they can be the best part!)