How did we become passionate about creating value?
Vern Harnish penned a book called Mastering the Rockefeller Habits. It is one of my top five must read business books and many of its principles have been incorporated into Carolina Ingredients core fabric.
We’ve instilled these principles for the past eight years and I dare say it has transformed our company.
One of my favorite chapters of Mr. Harnish’s book is called Mastering the Use of Core Values. Years ago we followed the author’s advice and asked our employees name five people that best represent Carolina Ingredients and why. I explained these five people would pretend they were sent to Mars and had to describe who and what was Carolina Ingredients. The feedback was more than I imagined and I proceeded to whittle the nominated representatives to five candidates.
We spent two half day sessions reviewing the characteristics of all the nominations and categorized the phrases into subgroups. Eventually we were able to select six categories which led to our original six core cultures. It is worth mentioning we added a seventh core culture in 2011 after we built and occupied our LEED Sustainable building. Once we started measuring our LEED improvements such as energy savings from our Photovoltaic System to recycling waste, the employees felt compelled to make “Optimize Sustainability Practices” a core culture fixture. Back to the story, these seven principles were scripted in a positive manner which would maximize the best attributes our team could offer.
The first true core value that typified and exemplified each of our five members headed for Mars was their deep desire to do their best. They each shared a passion for talking about the merit of Carolina Ingredients, the products we sold, the people who they worked with, and their love for the food industry. Their passion exuded through their veins and their desire to provide a uniqueness to the customer was evident on a daily basis. Hence, Passionate About Creating Value was born.
It is now our DNA, it’s our back bone, it’s the number one core value which we believe in and exemplify each and every day. My guess is if you spent a full day at Carolina Ingredients you would hear the phrase waft in the air through the lips on any team member.
During our monthly meeting, we ask employees to share examples of how their team members exemplified our core cultures. On a quarterly basis, $20 is given to the nominator for the best written example of a specific core culture. The nominee selected receives a $50 crisp bill.
There are few things that make me more proud of our folks who win the nomination and have the nominator share the story of their nomination. They’ve competed with over 45 people and win $50 and their smiles speak a thousand words to me.
Here are a few examples of this quarter’s Passionate About Creating Value nominations:
- Julie nominates Sarah: Sarah is a great example of someone that goes above and beyond at her job. She is always willing to help if you ask or stay as late as it takes to get something done. In one example, production had a particularly busy week and was running a red blend on Friday afternoon. The blender still needed to be cleaned and dried before they could even start blending. Sarah agreed to stay and watch it knowing that the red blend needed to get done and ship out. She ended up staying until 10:30pm to get the blend approved and out the door. Sarah gave up her Friday evening so that the job could get done. She’s passionate about her job and it shows.
- Sue nominates Mike: Mike helps R&D gather information for new and existing R&D projects- We have new projects submitted by current and new customers on a daily basis. He is great at supporting R&D when we have questions and does not hesitate to get involved with clarifying issues that we see with both incoming and on-going projects. He is in constant contact with our Key customers and often helps move the project process along by gathering feedback and on occasion letting us know what the customer might need in terms of paperwork, additional samples, etc.
- Carson nominates Jeremy: Jeremy always goes the extra mile to put out product to keep production going. He is always willing to help the other blender operators lighten their work load by assisting them with cutting in a blend, removing and bringing bulk and partial ingredients to the blender platform, or cleaning up after a blend. Just the other day, Jeremy helped cut in two white cheddar blends in blender 1, went to blender 3 and cut in two cinnamon sugar blends, then went back to blender 1 and cut in a nacho seasoning. All while making sure to account for scrap and downtime in the blending room AND making sure the other blender operators didn’t need any help.
- Rebecca nominates Lee: Lee seems to have wholly embraced Carolina Ingredient’s Core Cultures and truly lives and breathes them on a daily basis. Being in the field, as I am, can often leave one isolated from the team and the nuts and bolts of the business. Lee has found extremely cost effective technologies that have allowed me to participate in monthly meetings, conduct conference calls with clients, repair the glitches in my computer and modify software with surprising ease. Connectivity and speed is a key element to our progress and Lee makes our systems easy an practical to use. Whenever I call or email, Lee is ready to assist with a wonderful, positive attitude. And, need I mention, some of the applications we use are FREE. How’s that for creating value.
- Addison nominates Lisa C: I would like to nominate Lisa Cowley. Lisa has recently been promoted to customer service, and though it is hard for anyone to fill Melissa’s big shoes, Lisa has stepped up to the plate. Whenever I am traveling and need her help for something, she is quick to respond. I have also noticed an improvement in Lisa’s knowledge of customers and their orders. It is always hard to lose the people who are your backbone as a sales rep, but Lisa is doing a great job of taking over for Melissa.
- David nominates Julie: Julie did a great job coordinating our Customer Presentation last month. She made sure that our team stayed on top of the what the customer wanted to see in the presentation. While the presentation went smoothly, the value of the good will established between CII and our customer cannot be underestimated.