Our companies are the sum of the people who work for them and the customers that they serve. Further, people have wants and needs that go beyond getting and spending. They aren’t just looking for a paycheck every week or a non-descript service to buy. Today, more than ever, they’re looking for a community that they can belong to full of people that share their values. Values are a powerful part of our identity, both individually and corporately. If they’re taken out of the equation, then everything can veer toward the transactional. A transactional mindset leads employees to apply at the company down the street if they offer a few more cents per hour, and our customers to get what they need based only on who can offer the lowest price.
In an effort to affirm the humanity in our employee-owners and our customers alike, VGM has recently made an effort to articulate our core values to the people who work here and those who might like to in the future. We call them our Power of One Principles, a set of eight pillars that show what we stand for as the owners of this great company. These are values that each of us can embrace to get better at what we do individually so that all of us can go forward together. Our Power of One Principles are not an effort to change culture. We already had a great culture! Rather, they are an effort to capture and communicate our shared sense of purpose and energy.
Every company has a set of values that characterize its culture and its mission. Clearly articulating them is a great exercise, and it allows people to take our measure and decide if we can meet their needs. Not just the financial ones, but the human ones: A place to belong. The chance to find friends at work. A sense of shared meaning and purpose in what we do each day. If we can offer people that, then they’ll offer our customers meaningful and memorable service that will make them want to choose us forever.
Over the next several weeks, I’ll describe each of the Power of One Principles, provide some examples of how they relate to what our company does, and explain why each is an important part of what makes us us.