A gray rainy Sunday morning in the country found me in my den, tuned into a 2010 movie called “Company Men.” Ben Affleck, the star of the show, finds himself the victim, at age 37 of a downsizing at his ship building company. His boss, played by Tommy Lee Jones also gets fired, but that happens almost at the end of the movie.
As this trauma was unfolding, both men discover the importance of people, company values and what they want to happen in the next phase of their life which is to build something that they can “taste and touch and feel, not just numbers on a balance sheet. More importantly, they both now understand the importance of human capital to any enterprise, either on the shop floor in the accounting department.
The movie ends with Affleck and Jones opening an office in an old ship building factory and employing many of the people who got downsized from their old company. In the end, every viewer was, no doubt, rooting for them to “make it.”
This led me to thinking about company values. Yes I worked at Fortune 500 companies and heard all about company mission statements, corporate values and how “people were the most important asset.” Yet when the companies had trouble navigating some stormy economic waters, I realized that, well; these so called corporate values just couldn’t stand up to the dollars…and people were downsized, laid off, fired, outsourced and terminated. However you say it, it always sucks.
It wasn’t that I was naive, it was just that I was hoping against hope that just once, the jobs would be saved, and the company would be smarter about researching, designing, marketing and delivering their products and ultimately be profitable.
So here are my company values.
It’s what I believe in and what I have tried to live by for the past 17 years of being in business for myself. Have I been 100% successful in keeping all these values? Probably not, but I always carried the values with me.
I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.
1. If you don’t make a profit, you can’t do any of the rest. Make the numbers.
2. It’s not ALL for you. Give some of it back to your employees, your community and to those less blessed than you.
3. Respect your employees and vendors.
4. Treat your customers with dignity. Treat them like you would treat your grandmother.
5. Apologize when you are wrong. It’s OK. No one will think less of you.
6. Always keep improving your people, products and processes.
7. Think big.
8. Always do the right thing…karma is a bitch!