Recently during our annual client event, I had the pleasure of sharing a deeper look at our organizational values. Honestly, it felt good to share this; we carry a sense of pride and ownership to these values. After some reflection, I realized you all deserve to know, and not just as part of a passing conversation at an event. Hence, it is the subject of this blog. Many people are part of a team (or company) where they give 40 hours a week in exchange for their salary. At Diversified, we (David, Kyle, and myself) have taken a different approach. We want our employees to work for a value system (instead of just a company). Our employees know our value system – we live it, breathe it, and make it part of our daily work lives. But, that isn’t enough. We want everyone (clients, prospects, employees, wholesalers, etc.) to understand them as well. Our core values are who we are. And, I feel it’s important to share this information with our community. The six values I am about to share are the core of our company’s success and are (for lack of a better term) our mantra consistently repeated around the office. In fact, they are so important that we hire, fire, promote, and evaluate employees to these values. We even give companywide “shout-outs” to anyone exhibiting one of these values. While I would love to claim credit, the idea behind the system was actually from a business management book called Traction by Gino Wickman. The entire process was enlightening. As a company, we discussed (around a whiteboard) the characteristics of “who we are” and “what exemplifies a Diversified employee.” We narrowed our long list down to our six core values. They are as follows:
- Passion for the brand. To work for our company, you have to believe in what we are doing. It’s impossible for someone to wake up energized to work for a place where they don’t believe in their product. We change lives through financial guidance. For us to best deliver our service, we MUST have everyone believing in it.
- Family/team culture. Our employees aren’t employees, they’re truly family. Their families are our family, too. We recognize everyone that works here donates 40+ hours a week to our mission. If we are going to be surrounded by these people for this much, we better consider them family. Plus, we all work together as a team to accomplish tasks and duties. There are no weak links at Diversified. Why? We don’t let anyone in that doesn’t believe in our family/team culture.
- Client focused. To us there is nothing more important than our clients. They are the reason we are given purpose in this industry. Everything we do is centered around delivering the best service we know how to give. We constantly make sure their experience is truly first class; without our clients we are nothing.
- Goes the extra mile. In creating our core values, we asked, “what characteristics do our star employees exhibit?” It didn’t take long for us to agree they do whatever it takes to get the job done! We operate in a time-sensitive world. Sometimes, that means going above and beyond. We believe in a work-hard/play-hard mentality and it’s refreshing to know any one of our employees will do what it takes to get‘er done!
- Positive attitude. This one was fairly easy to name, as we are a small, tight-knit group. If someone brings a bad attitude it can be cancerous throughout the company. Attitude carries a lot of weight. We truly want everyone to enjoy being here. We look at it like this: if their minds aren’t in the right place, how can we expect their work to be up to the standard our clients deserve?
- Accountable. We juggle a million tasks a day, but there is no room for unaccomplished tasks. It’s crucial to us that everyone (on both sides of the table) does what they say and in a timely manner. That being said; though, we do reward that high level of accountability. For instance, we don’t believe in vacation days. Everyone here can take whatever days they want (or need) off every year. We do this knowing that no one leaves jobs undone and stays accountable to their team.
Final thoughts: It took a fair amount of time defining who we want to be as a company. As we grow and develop, we’ll continue to modify this definition as needed. This value system serves as a guide for us. It lets us articulate to others what makes us unique. This is a team effort at Diversified, and I am truly blessed to be a member of this special team.