To view the whole speech go to the bulletin board on facebook- click here
We are trying to create the culture that everyone wants to come to work to and enjoy themselves. One of those things to help do that is to have a clear vision, of who we are and what we are about.
This is something we have been working on for months. About a month ago we were in a meeting with a trainer, and he was like “get it figured out. How about today?” He was pushing us to figure it out quickly, but our vision was something I didn’t feel like I could rush. I can honestly say that I have been working on it every day for the last three months I have been working out new ideas around the vision. We have been having our senior management team contributing and putting things together. Poor Shelly has to listen to groups of words and, “how does this sound?” every day while I was putting this together.
There are a couple of things around a vision that is important. One of the things is it has to be memorable. If we put a vision out there and you can’t remember, it’s not serving its purpose. It has to be something that has just a few words but expresses what we feel and what our culture and purpose is. The vision for our company is “WE CREATE & ELEVATE.” We are creators, what we do is unique. Our stores and our retail spaces are custom. We are creators, creativity is a way of thinking as well as an outcome. We are creators, the things that we create Elevate. Hopefully, each one of you is experiencing some type of creative process, and it is helping you become a better person. When we go out and work with the customers, we are elevating their business. We are helping them understand their story and who they are, and we are taking them to a new level. That’s what we do is helping save small businesses across the country. We are elevating them so they can compete against the big box Wal-Marts and stores that are coming in. We help the small to mid-size companies become successful. Through our creativity we elevate them. Through the programs and the offerings that we are developing here, you are being elevated educationally, personally, benefits-wise and through your way of living. Creative and Elevate is our vision.
To support our vision, we had to come up with our core values. What is it that we reek of? What is it that we want people to know and feel about our brand without having to tell them. What is the experience that they have from us? What is it that we are booming and striving to be? That’s what these core values are there for. Imagine with me an old-fashioned wagon wheel or bicycle wheel. In the center of the wagon wheel, the part that all of the pieces hook into is the hub. All of the weight rests on the hub, everything that is pushing on the wheel comes through the spokes and centers on the hub.
Our hub is RELATIONSHIPS. Our company was built off of relationships. The new leads that we get in through sales all come because of relationships. We’ve never gone out and formally advertised or marketed ourselves. The growth of this company is because people have heard about us and the great job that we do. It is also on the relationships that we have here with each other. Each one of us is a little bit different, some of our very social, others of us, like me, are more reserved—it’s a little bit harder to walk up and talk to people. I can stand up and speak very well, but I have a harder time walking up and talking to people. I understand that everyone is a little bit different. When I talk about relationships, it’s about how we treat each other and how we speak with each other. Do we care about the people that we are working with? Are we concerned about their needs and thinking about how we can help them? How are we going to handle this situation, am I going to improve the relationship or hinder it? When we talk about relationships it’s important to remember: are we creating the relationship that we want to have with other people? Are we doing the same thing in the way we treat them? How our relationships are developed inside of the company radiates out to the way we treat our customers. Just like I say we want our customers to be forgiven from time to time, I hope within our company we can be forgiven from time to time, knowing that each one of us is learning and growing in different ways. If you can consider, that the hub of what the weight of our company does, is based on relationships.
Now if you break it down into 4 spokes that build the wheel out, one of those is DISCIPLINE. As a company in what we do we have to be disciplined. We can’t set things aside and expect it to be done. Because it’s custom we have to think better, we have to step up and take care of things when it happens. From time to time things go wrong, and when things go wrong, that’s when the discipline really comes out and saying I’m going to get back in there and figure this out. It has long-lasting effects. It brings to mind a story about Harmons. Harmons is the biggest and main customers that we have. It took me 5 years of constantly making sales calls and getting in with them. This was the first major store that we did with them, its call District. If you have seen the pictures of the district it has big 20-foot-high valances and it has a lot of single-color murals. What we had done is matched the color of the images to the paint and then printed them on vinyl. We went and put the vinyl up on the walls, it took quite a bit of effort in matching the color, printing the vinyl, cutting and then going in and putting it up. Harmons loved the store, it was beautiful. But I remember walking through the store a week or so after the grand opening and looking up at the corner of one of the images and it was starting to curl. I was like “Ooh, I’ve got to get that taken care of.” As I walked around to another image, I noticed that another one was starting to curl, and it was concerning. I went back a week later and pretty well all of the edges were starting to curl. I called Frank with Harmons up and said, “Frank we have a problem.” He said, “I know, I noticed that the edges of the vinyl are starting to come down. How much is this going to cost me to get it fixed?” I said, “Frank this isn’t on you this is on me. We put it up”, and I said, “I have gone in a checked, and I am finding out what is going on, and the vinyl is failing. The adhesive that is on the back side was moved from petroleum-based to an ammonia base, and the batches of vinyl that we have are failing.” He said, “Oh, well I can see that it’s not your fault, how much is this going to cost me?” I said, “Frank this is my responsibility,” and we went in and traced every single one of the images and repainted the entire inside of the store. Now the result of that story is that Frank said that we showed great discipline in coming in and taking care of the store. He said that many other companies would have taken money, he said it showed the type of person you are and the type of company you have that you had the discipline to own up to it, figure out what was wrong and take care of it. That was the beginning of our great relationship and partnership with Harmons. Because of that when we have mistakes or problems, they know that we have the discipline to get in and take care of it. It was very important to Frank that we had the discipline. Internally when we have discipline, and we step up, and we do our jobs and do things right it shows others that we can perform, and we are reliable. When we have discipline people can count on us to perform and work in a specific way, and it builds trust.
Another spoke that we have LEARNERS. We are a learning company. Now, some of you may say, “I don’t necessarily like to read books.” Some of us have to read books, I put down 4 or 5 books a month just trying to keep up in reading. Every morning I try to read or listen to a new article whether it’s out of a trade magazine or Harvard Business Review, something just to keep up with where we are going. Learning is more than just reading; it is a state of mind. You don’t have to be a well-read person to be a learner. A learner is someone a bit humble and willing to take new information and say, “I can learn from this,” or being willing to learn from a mistake or learning new information to improve what you are doing. A learner is someone open to expanding their knowledge to expand what they know and their abilities. I want to accentuate the fact that we are learners, here, and it is expected that we continue to learn and evolve and grow with our company because we are moving forward. If you’re not, you’ll be passed by. Unfortunately, sometimes people are, and they have to go find other places because they can’t keep up with where we’re going as a company. So, it’s important that you remember that learning is a mindset and that we keep up with the growth and the development of the company.
The other spoke in our wheel is CREATIVE. We are a custom shop. But it doesn’t have to do with just the design pieces. When we talk about a creative, it’s our state of mind in asking, “Can we come up with something new? Can we come up with a better way of doing what we are doing? Can we create something enjoyable?” And it has to do with our environment. It has to do with the work that we’re doing with our hands as well as with our minds. But being creative is, like I mentioned, a frame of reference in your mind. It’s a can-do attitude. “I can figure out how to do this,” versus saying, “no, I can’t.” Somebody creative, when something comes up, they don’t say, “Oh no, I can’t do it,” their mindset is “Let me think about it. Let me see if I can create a way that we can accomplish this.” But it’s that can-do attitude. “I can do it. I just have to sit down and work the old muscle between the two ears and figure out a way of doing it.” That creative side is really what helps are company get ahead and helps us develop new and innovative ideas and helps us rely on each other.
The last part of these four spokes is PASSION. Now, in the company, you guys have heard me say this before. We can teach you, we can train you, we can send you out for classes and further education, we can provide good benefits and all of those things that you need in your job, I can give you that, but I can’t give you your passion. I can’t give you that. Passion is something that you have to wake up in the morning and have on the inside. And the best thing to create that passion is to understand your purpose. If you know what your purpose is, and what you set out to accomplish and do, then you can get behind that, and get excited about it, and then you have your passion. So, I challenge each one of you to find your purpose. As a company, our purpose is to create and elevate.
To help businesses to be successful, and to help each one of us to be successful. But the passion is something that you have to have. If you don’t have it, and you don’t think you can get it, talk with us, we’ll help you find it. The last thing I want is for someone to be miserable in their job here. I’ve done this before, I’ve sat down with people and said, “you’re just not happy, let’s help you go find happiness someplace else.” And sometimes people need to do that. There’s a lot of us here that have come and gone from time to time. I like to think they want to come back because we have something here, we have something special. Heaven knows I’ve quit several times over the years. I’ve just never left. I have to sit down and find my purpose. Some of you remember this that there was a time that I let 50% of the company go because we needed to get the right culture and the right passion in place, where people supported each other, and we're excited about what they did, and finding new ways to do it.
Now these 4 spokes that we’ve put together, this Discipline, this Learner, this Creative, and this Passion, based upon Relationship, if you were to put that outer rim on that wheel, that’s what makes a true Craftsman or builds craftsmanship. So, CRAFTSMANSHIP is the final core value. To be true craftsmen in our jobs, now some of you may think, “oh craftsmanship is with like woodworking or something.” No, someone that has craftsmanship is someone that takes pride in what they’re doing and wants to produce something excellent. So, it doesn’t matter that you’re in sales, you’re a craftsman if you can do it well, and you understand that this is a profession that you can perfect. I want to be the best salesman, I want to be the best installer, I want to be the best printer, I want to learn these routers as no one else can run them. And you find, and you build that passion, and that learning, and that discipline and that creativity, and it comes out in this true craftsmanship.
I felt like these are good, solid core values that relate to one another, that make us better people, that makes us a better company. We’re growing, and we’re going places, and I want everybody to come with us. As we’ve said before, all of our senior management team are from people that have started within this company and worked their way up. All of the middle management people are people that started at the entry-level positions and moved their way up. We do our best and, in the future, going forward, we will promote from within as much as possible. We prove that by the people that have these positions. For those that want to be able to do it, we’re going to open the door for you and find a place in the company, as we move forward to give you a great future.
I’m really looking forward to where we’re moving, and where we’re going and the passion that all of us have. About the exciting things that are happening, the fact that we are in Cedar City and we’re world-class, and that we’re getting calls in more and more and more, as our business grows and develops, it’s very exciting. And it shows the confidence that the market and the people have in us.
Again, I want to express my appreciation to everybody for what you do, you are who drive this company, I’m the old bald guy that runs around and tries to keep up, but I appreciate what you guys do. There’s so many of you that really invest with your hearts and your minds, and we talk about it. Shelly and I were just talking the other day about how this company wouldn’t be the same, and we went through all of the different people that make us who we are, and you guys are the ones that make our company and create it. So, with that, I say thank you, and I hope you look forward to having our vision and our core values out there now, it’s going to take us into the future. Thanks for taking a minute and pacifying the old guy here.