The six things in our culture that I care about are: (Tom Mendoza)
1) Attitude. There are two things that separate people in the workplace — attitude and the ability to convince others of your ideas. As Lou Holtz said, attitude is the only thing that you have that is 100% within your control every day — have a good one! When I speak at our New Hire training, I say “if you are not pumped up to be here at the end of this week, quit . . . don’t make us find you. Nothing great has ever been done by people who didn’t want to do it. There is absolutely no benefit to a bad attitude.
2. Candor. I believe that candor is a tremendous asset to a firm and one that few have because employees don’t believe that their leaders want it. Great ideas come from candor. If people believe that you want it (and you are willing to be open with them), you can fully take advantage of their talents. A way to get people thinking about it and comfortable is to end meetings with three questions (Dan did this): 1) what did you think of the pace, 2) what did you think of the content and 3) what did you think of the candor. People will stumble at the beginning, but they will open up if you really want them to. It doesn’t matter if you do what they bring up, but it is powerful in every way for them to do so. I tell people that if they don’t agree with what is being said, voice their concerns. It gives me the opportunity to express my views and to understand theirs. The only unacceptable behavior is to have the meeting end and to state your concerns to someone else outside the room. Candor helped us to make wise decisions in the worst times and has been the key to our success.
3. Catch someone doing something right. If they see anyone doing something extraordinary to help a customer or our company (a heroic act or creating a process so that we don’t need heroic acts), send me an e-mail, tell me the story, give me their cell #. I can’t see the acts so I push on the leaders to tell me what they are seeing and I encourage people to tell me about their peers. In the first few years, 70% of the incoming were from leaders. Today 70% are employees telling me about great things that they saw other employees do (often in some other group). Having people focus on and recognizing the positive contributions of others is incredibly powerful.
4. Leadership rather than management. You manage things and lead people. Leaders have many different types of personalities. What great leaders have in common, however, is people who follow them who are not motivated by fear or intimidation; they simply don’t want to let the person down. That right is earned. A leader earns that right by creating value for the employee at the point of attack (helping them to be successful as opposed to just measuring the results) and caring. “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.” Leaders help people to aspire and inspire them to reach heights they didn’t realize were achievable. Aspiration and Inspiration are the keys.
5. High (unlimited) expectations. In every study on high performance, people talk about having time bound and written goals, yet less than 10% of people have them. One reason is you can’t miss an unwritten goal. I have 90 day goals, 3 personal and 3 professional. On the personal goals, I ask myself “if I do what I do, do I feel better about me?” Everyone has different things that when they do them they feel great. I pick 3 (that you can measure) to accomplish in 90 days. I never share those because I am not trying to prove to others that I can do it, I am trying to break through self imposed barriers. I then set 3 professional goals by asking “what 3 things am I going to do to make an impact?” I share them with my internal customer and my boss. They may say “those two are great, I wouldn’t do the third.” Great. No effort wasted. Once I have my six goals, I do two more critical steps: 1) I put them away for a day, then read them line by line asking one question; if I do that will I be proud of myself.” I almost always increase a couple. 2) I take out my planner and put my goals in. As an example, if I say that I am going to get on a treadmill 3 times a week for 30 minutes, I put those in. People often say “I feel much better when I work out.” “Are you working out?” “No, I don’t have time.” It’s not a matter of time. It just isn’t a true priority.
6. Embrace change. Are you getting better or getting worse? If you are staying the same, you are getting worse. As people age, they often don’t want any change. They want to go to the same restaurants, see the same people, vacation in the same spots, etc. When you meet older people who are curious, always look ahead, it is startling difference. They age well and are always growing. Many companies are like the first example. “We are risk averse.” If you don’t take risks, you just took a risk. If you don’t make a decision, you just made a decision.