Always raising our level of awareness.
As Yogi Berra said "You can see a lot just by looking." Keep your head up. Look. Be curious. Notice what is actually happening around you. Really notice. Listen. Listen to your clients. In fact, listen to everyone. Everything starts with awareness. Being alert. Being awake. Tuning in to the frequency. It’s a perpetual choice to both stay aware and raise your level of awareness. Our future, growth, innovation and success start with the thousands of eyeballs of our team members. That’s you.
The inches we need are everywhere around us.
If a company does one big thing better than their competition, it becomes fairly easy for their competition to level the playing field: they can just imitate that one thing. But, if a company does thousands of little things better than anyone else, they become nearly impossible to imitate. We call those thousands of little things “inches.” We’d never be able to foresee all the things that should be noticed or improved. Instead, we drive a culture that motivates our team members to find the inches we need all around us. We are all empowered to find the opportunities to make an impact everywhere; one inch at a time, these inches all add up to greatness.
Responding with a sense of urgency is the ante to play.
Urgency is your inner compulsion and drive to get things done in a timely, yet thoughtful, manner. On this team, we return all phone calls and emails the same day. We’re on the lunatic fringe. We’re obsessed with answering inquiries ASAP. Not just to clients and partners, but to each other! There’s no other way, and no other option. Urgency motivates us to ensure we communicate all news fast, both good and bad. We take care of things, especially our clients … NOW!
Every Client. Every Time. No Exceptions. No Excuses.
Clients don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Could it be any clearer? A great company is built one client at a time. If you AMAZE every client every chance you get, then they are satisfied and so are you. There’s no feeling good around here because 90% of our clients were satisfied. Every client means 100% of our clients, and not some of the time. Amaze them EVERY TIME. No exceptions. No excuses!
Obsessed with finding a better way.
Our never-ending mission is to find a better way for every process and everything we touch. If it’s good, let’s make it great. If it’s great, let’s take it to an even higher level. Don’t settle for less. In fact, don’t settle at all. Finding a better way is not something we do on the side or when we get the time. Rather, it’s a key priority for every one of our team members. It’s our passion … our way of living … our obsession. We don’t just work IN our business – we work ON our business.
Yes before no.
It’s critically important that we live the culture of YES. This does not mean that every single idea, question, suggestion or recommendation will ultimately be met with a big thumbs-up. It means that we respond to all curiosity with the mindset of YES first. Our bias is to the YES side of life. This is in stark contrast to the too common approach of an automatic NO to any expression of an inquiring mind. Saying NO is easier, but the status quo is not our favorite state. We live in the land of growth, possibilities, ideas, innovation, positive impact and results. The only path to that place is through openness to the unknown. So YES before NO, and NO only if we have done the work and exhausted all the potential of YES first.
Ignore the noise.
We’ve found it’s not always skill and long hours that lead to greatness. It’s also the ability to ignore the noise. Noise could be from naysayers, something going wrong, sun in your eyes, ball took a bad bounce, dog ate your homework, someone cut you off on the way to work, etc. A lot of things that seem serious at first glance turn out to be noise. Will you allow it to keep you from winning? The noise may fluctuate in volume, but your determination to press on in spite of it (ignore it!) will make all the difference to you and our Family of Companies.
It’s not about WHO is right; it’s about WHAT is right.
There is no place at our company for typical corporate arrogance. WHO is right (or WHO is wrong) is irrelevant and inconsequential to WHAT is the right decision or best outcome for the issue at hand. All decisions should be made with a single motivation: the right or best decision for our clients, team members and company. Think about how much a company compromises itself by basing decisions on WHO is in favor or against something instead of WHAT is the best and right decision. The WHAT trumps the WHO in our shop.
We are the “they.”
There is no “they.” We are the “they.” Just open minds and an open culture rooted in trust. The leaders within the Rock Family of Companies trust you. We trust you to make decisions, and, if you make an honest mistake, it’s OK! We trust you will learn from your mistakes. It’s a foreign concept to most organizations, but for us, it’s crystal clear.
You have to take the roast out of the oven.
Perfection is not the goal when it’s time to make a decision. Focus instead on constant improvement and innovation. Over-analyzing can kill an idea and make you miss an opportunity. Don’t fear failure. If our environment did not tolerate failure, then innovation would die, creativity would die, and eventually, so would our business.
When there’s a decision to be made, there are three possible outcomes:
1. You make the right one – Great!
2. You make the wrong one – Hopefully you learn something valuable from it.
3. You make no decision – You haven’t made the right one, and you haven’t learned a thing.
Always make new mistakes. Make decisions. And, when you believe that roast is pretty much done, pull it out of the oven.
You’ll see it when you believe it.
Nothing significant in this world has ever happened without someone believing in it first. It’s only the passive observers of life who say “I’ll believe it when I see it.” We take the opposite approach, and lead with our hearts and minds. We know the truth: If we truly believe in something, we can – and will – affect the outcome. If we believe in ourselves first, we dramatically increase our odds of success. If we believe it can happen, then it will.
We’ll figure it out.
We don’t need to have all the answers before we take on a project or launch a new and innovative idea. We have faith that when it comes to some of the details, we’ll figure it out along the way. If we wait to cross every “t” and dot every “i” before proceeding with an idea, concept or improvement, then we wouldn’t make much progress at all. It’s our belief in each other and ourselves that gives us the confidence to find new solutions to keep us moving forward. Sometimes a game-changing project will be held up because of a small detail that doesn’t matter. Should we solve for the exception and delay the launch of a project that could otherwise make a huge impact? No! Instead, we take the roast out of the oven and figure out the exception as we go. That’s how we roll. We know that building something new or creating something special is messy, and that greatness doesn’t always come in nice, tidy packages. This is an advantage, not a hindrance. As long as we continue to love the idea and trust the process, then we truly believe we’ll figure it out.
Every second counts.
You will always invest your time somewhere doing something. As long as you are alive, it’s not a choice whether you invest your time or not; the only choice is what you will do with it. Time, not money, is the most valuable commodity of all. Time can never be replaced. Never trade significant amounts of time for small sums of money. How will you invest the 31,536,000 seconds you are gifted each year? Choose wisely.
Numbers and money follow; they do not lead.
Money and numbers are a measurement of actions. They are neither the ends nor the means. Ironically, the vast majority of those who chase money will never end up with much of it. Instead, chase the skills that will make you great. Those who are motivated by building, improving and developing unique skills, trades and knowledge are the ones who acquire wealth. Become an expert. Pursue your vision with uncompromising passion, and become the best. Numbers and money follow successful accomplishments. Become great at something or build something great. Chasing numbers and money first will leave you chasing your tail.
A penny saved is a penny.
Your uncle’s advice, "A penny saved is a penny earned!" is the worst financial advice ever given in history. Choose to value your time. Invest it chasing pennies, and you will find pennies – and pennies never add up. Invest it in ideas, improving your skills, innovation, developing your talent, design, marketing, and technology, and your return will be more than just pennies. Stop wasting your time with the silly pursuit of pennies. Instead, invest your valuable time creating dollars. The choice is yours.
We eat our own dog food.
Tying the threads and leveraging ideas and connections within our Family of Companies is what it’s all about – that’s eating our own dog food. The basis of all wealth is found in the strength of the relationships you make. Create them. Seek them out. Build upon them. Be loyal to them. If your level of awareness is high, you will find an endless amount of “dog food” around you. The more you give to these relationships, the more you will get from them. So start giving – now.
Simplicity is genius.
Sometimes the “intellects” of the world believe that if it’s too simple, it can’t be good. Nothing could be further from the truth. Simplifying things in this fast-moving, complicated world isn’t just good – it’s GREAT. Simple design. Simple process. Simple communication. When we communicate with others, we cannot assume they know exactly what we know. You are you, and they are them. We must start at chapter one, not chapter five. Simplicity doesn’t just clarify; it creates wealth in the process. Because if there is anything in this world that everyone can agree upon (outside of the “intellects,” of course), it’s that simplicity makes things better for everybody. That’s why simple is something we strive for in everything we do.
All day. Every day. It’s as simple as that.
Innovation is rewarded. Execution is worshipped.
Ideas are fundamental to who we are. We encourage them. We love them. But ideas alone don’t mean much. It takes both ideas AND execution to make things happen. Great ideas get you to the 50-yard line; outstanding execution gets you into the end zone.
Do the right thing.
The high road is not a shortcut. Stick to the highest standard of integrity, without compromise. Character is what you do when no one is looking over your shoulder! Doing the wrong thing is never worth it. How can you go wrong doing the right thing? Remember, eventually three things always come out: the sun, the moon and the truth.