If you’re a member of any business networking website, you’ve undoubtedly seen a meme that shows Richard Branson or possibly some other uber-wealthy entrepreneur, proclaiming “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”
That’s certainly an inspiring message, but what does it really mean?
As 2016 came to a close, Production Solutions launched a revitalized strategic plan to achieve our desired three-year corporate vision. By viewing ourselves first as a customer service organization, our initial concentration was on our people.
To start, we reviewed the common corporate belief that leadership is a job title. We strayed from the idea that you need to be a Director, Vice President, or C-Level Executive to be considered a leader. In fact, Production Solutions believes that leadership is a quality within everyone and should be an integral part of our culture.
In early 2017, with the help of Cynthia Way from Way to Go! Inc., we organized employee focus groups with a single question to answer – what is leadership to you? We discovered several commonalities in the feedback and consolidated them into three themes that we titled our “Leadership Principles”, which helped define our company’s emerging culture:
Leadership is unique to everyone. Here at Production Solutions, we define Leadership as: “inspiring personal growth and delivering impeccable service experiences.”
Then came skill building. Each month, with Cynthia Way’s guidance, all of our employees were invited to spend a few hours reviewing each leadership principle and how it applied to our company and industry.
The impact resonated with higher levels of engagement and positive discussions about alternative approaches to challenging circumstances and conversations. People began to feel more invested in the company’s goals, contributing to our culture and learning about new methods of thinking that could make a difference with clients, service partners, and co-workers. Some were even able to see benefits outside the office with family and friends!
In 2018, Production Solutions will be taking the next steps to steadily engage our employees. We will continue our leadership principle skill building by looking at specific, employee-provided topics of interest and how our principles apply. Additionally, we plan to continue our integration of these leadership principles into our company’s culture identifying ways to discuss, represent, and acknowledge them.
Production Solutions has always strived to be the best company it can be by never settling for what works today. The development of our Leadership Principles is far from perfect and far from over, but if it takes time to create a culture that embraces and celebrates leadership qualities in everyone, isn’t it worth it?
So, what is leadership to you?