It’s important to have a philosophy of life. Unfortunately, it’s not something that most of us can define and articulate when we’re teenagers or even young adults. Most of us need time and experience before we really know what’s important and the “things worth fighting for.” Until you get there, every decision is hard. Should I give the homeless man $5? Should I date someone who doesn’t share my spiritual beliefs? Should I move away from family and take the job in Phoenix? These sorts of decisions are much more difficult without a life philosophy arising from beliefs you’ve come to cherish and life experiences that test your decisions.
The same is true of a company. A company where the team members don’t know what’s important and valued is aimless. Decisions by team members can be difficult to make. I was asked what accomplishment I was most proud of in 2019 and I answered by stating that in 2019, I committed RTA to four core values:
DO WHAT’S RIGHT – This was by far the simplest. Doing the right thing is simply an extension of the Christian philosophy of loving thy neighbor. It’s never right to treat a customer, a supplier, another team member, etc with disrespect if you live that philosophy. When you make a mistake, it’s just right to own up to it, apologize for it and make it right.
MAKE IT SIMPLE – This was another easy one. RTA was founded on the principle that we “Make it Simple”, provide over-the-top support and make work fun for both employees and our customers. Our job is to hide the complexity from our customers.
KEEP LEARNING – All of us are paid for providing value to our employers and to our customers. You can’t earn more as an individual or a company unless you are providing more value. The way you provide more value is by learning and implementing what you learn. Personally, my goal for 2019 was to read a book a week. I came up short and only read 29 books last year.
TAKE OWNERSHIP – This last value was the one that we really struggled with. What is ownership and how does someone demonstrate it? I settled on three key attributes: taking initiative to create positive results; being accountable for your results, and showing enthusiasm and passion for our customers to be successful.
I am very proud of our core values. I think it makes life simpler and easier for our team members. They know what the company stands for and how they should act in every situation. There are no exceptions to doing what’s right, taking ownership, continuing to learn and working towards simplicity.
I’ve been very explicit that living these values is key to be a part of our company. You can’t be here unless you’re in alignment with our values. It doesn’t matter if you’re our best engineer, a fantastic marketer or a whiz at accounting; if you’re not consistent with these values, you don’t belong here.
And that’s what I love about our company and what I am most proud of from 2019.