At Willmar Electric, we discuss our Foundational Principles (Core Values, Brand Promise, and Purpose Statement). In business parlance, these things are called culture. We think culture is essential.
But don’t misunderstand our placing a high value on these things as making results take a back seat within our organization. It is the results that matter. We understand that at the end of the end of the day, it is the results that count. But our results are driven by Foundational Principles.
(Warning: I have written about this before and people don’t like it).
At Willmar Electric we expect everyone we hire to live by these three things.
First, our purpose statement, People Making a Difference for People. The actions you take doing your job at Willmar Electric should improve the lives of the people you encounter at work.
Second, our core values are that you should treat others the way you want to be treated, uphold the merit shop, be thrifty, and meet the customer’s needs.
Third, our brand promise is that you should be on time, organized, and approachable.
But if the results of your effort are missing the estimated hours, doing a poor estimate, forgetting to pay vendors, or breaking company policy you will be dealt with accordingly.
I realize this sounds harsh. It seldom is an issue because we hire based on our foundational principles.
Sometimes, people need clarification and think hard work is more critical than results. It isn’t. Efficient work trumps working long hours. (Note: a core value is thrifty not work overtime). Sometimes, our jobs call for long hours, so we do it, but it is to achieve a particular result, completing the project on time, not a test of core values.
Meeting customer needs means doing things excellently, so we don’t have to redo our work. Again, this can result in trumping effort.
The same is true of being organized. An organized work site doesn’t have rework. Organized people do things right the first time.
Safety is another area where results show themselves to be number one. Organized projects don’t have injuries. Organized projects engineer out risks that lead to injuries.
Supervisors who treat others the way they want to be treated don’t push people to take safety risks. Coworkers who treat others how they want to be treated don’t allow coworkers to take safety risks. Having an injury on a project is an unsatisfactory result for the people in charge of the project and the people working on a site, regardless of whether they are the people who got hurt or not.
You might be reading this thinking Dave has gone cold-hearted. All this talk about results is mean and unfair. It is nearly impossible to last at Willmar Electric if you don’t live the Foundational Principles. These are the minimum bar you must obtain to last at Willmar Electric. But they drive the results. Our 103-year history has shown us that if you live up to them, you will tend to get great results.
So, does culture matter at Willmar Electric? Absolutely. You won’t keep your job at Willmar Electric if you fail to live up to the core values.
(Typically, when people don’t fit our core values, they quit.) But results determine other items like wages, bonuses, and promotions.
The core value people within Willmar Electric struggle the most with defining is merit shop. This blog should help them understand what merit shop means.