A few days before a new hire would join our team, I scheduled a Skype chat. I wanted to prepare her, in greater detail than I had already done, for her new role with our little company.
More importantly, I wanted her to really grasp who we are as a company, and what we aspire to accomplish. An hour before our chat, I sat down and wrote the following list. (#10 here replaces one that was specific to her, and to her only.)
I’ve shared this list selectively with certain people, and at their prodding, I’m now sharing it with you.
1. Our first priority is to be a profitable, honorable, successful business. We can do nothing else listed here if our business does not remain open and does not operate with integrity. We define success based on the other things listed here.
2. Our second priority is to do our very best to ensure every customer, both paying and non-paying, is satisfied each time they have an experience with our business. Even a horrible experience can become a memorable one if handled with care.
3. Our third priority is to make a meaningful difference in the world. We do this best by giving of our time, effort, and money to efforts such as charity: water, to help and uplift others—locally and abroad. We hope to be known by this long after we close our doors.
4. It is your privilege and responsibility to make our jobs easier by lightening the load, taking the initiative, challenging our ideas when appropriate, and enhancing our team’s culture.
5. It is our privilege and responsibility to extract every ounce of potential from you that we can, to make you the best contributor to our team and to our community that you can possibly be.
6. Do what works best for you and for our company, not others. You would be unwise to not consider the methods, tools, and ideas of others. However, you would be even more unwise to be swayed by every new compelling or forceful argument that comes along merely because it was spoken by someone notable.
7. We strive to connect great companies with great talent. Let that become a hallmark of who you are while employed with Authentic Jobs, even outside of work with friends and associates who have nothing to do with our business.
8. When uncertain about a decision, contemplate it further and counsel with the team. I have found that the best decisions I’ve made have followed significant thought and discussion, rather than hastily making a decision.
9. There will be times when you will be required to use your best judgment and ask for forgiveness later, if necessary. Don’t let fear of reprehension prevent you from accomplishing great things or from resolving problems when time is of the essence.
10. Good judgment begets great judgment. As you consistently make good decisions, you’ll find your propensity for making good decisions in the future increases. Mistakes, and learning from mistakes, are indispensable tools for acquiring wisdom and improving judgment. Making the right decision the first time, however, is exponentially more beneficial to our company and to your overall well-being.
I’ve referred back to this list many times since then in evaluations, company meetings, and so forth. “Day one” has become everyday.