Bring Corporate Values to Life By Defining Behaviors

Research consistently shows that companies that define a core purpose and embrace core values consistently achieve greater long-term success. But it’s a process easier said than done. Defining corporate values -“ in terms that resonate and stick with employees throughout an organization -“ can be challenging.

Translating corporate values into behaviors is essential to the process. To truly succeed, corporate values must be clearly articulated in words and phrases specifically describing behaviors that foster fantastic customer service. These should be easy to remember and apply to situations faced every day by employees at all levels and locations.

For example, at Sachse Construction & Development, we’ve developed a corporate culture that challenges each employee to do his or her job a little better every time. Our four core values support this, including, “pursue excellence by constantly raising the bar.”

To help bring our core values to life -“ and to have a little fun in the process -“ we developed a character named Ray Zabar (say it out loud) who embodies the Sachse way of doing things.

We developed a series of Ray-isms, which are essentially Sachse Construction’s rules to live by. These easy-to-remember guidelines provide more concrete examples of our core values in action, including:

Deliver solutions, not problems -“ Clients hire us to solve their problems, not to identify them. When you call a client to discuss a problem, you also need to present options for resolving it. When an issue arises, research several solutions before you contact the client with both the issue and ways to resolve it.

Do what you can when you can -“ Sometimes obstacles arise. While you search for solutions to a problem, work on other tasks that you can accomplish in the meantime. There’s always something to do -“ and whatever you can do now, you won’t have to do later.

It’s in the details -“ Our passion to do whatever it takes to get every single detail done right is what separates our company from others. Every little thing matters -“ from the transition between flooring materials to keeping a construction site clean to making sure a sign is straight.

It’s the little things -“ It’s the little things, positive and negative, that make a difference, and separate the good from the great. Return calls promptly. Lock a tenant’s door behind you. Correct a typo on the invoice.

No “don’t buts” -“ Done means done. Period. When you say “done,” the word “but” cannot follow it. At Sachse, done means there is absolutely nothing else that needs to be completed, presented or finished on that task, project or presentation.

ALWAYS do the right thing -“ This is a core value that bears repeating. Our reputation is all that we have, and our only asset that has value. Every day in every way do the right thing to protect our client and our reputation.

Say “YES” we can -“ When a client asks us to do something, the first word of your answer should always be “yes.” Follow it up with a discussion of the time and/or money required to deliver that request. Even if in the end the client decides not to move forward with it, that client will never forget that you replied “YES.”

If they like the cook, they will like the food -“ Show clients respect, work to take care of them on every level, build their trust in every interaction and they will like you-¦and the services you deliver.

The last 1 percent is all the client remembers -“ No matter how great a job you do or how many years you’ve worked for a client, in the end, one small thing can forever tarnish the reputations of you and the company. You can work miracles day-in and day-out on a project, meeting or beating every deadline and budget item, and if you don’t promptly finish that punch list -“ the last 1 percent -“ the client will forget all the miracles and money saved and forever remember that you didn’t finish on time.

Everyone is a client -“ Always communicate with the highest level of respect with everyone you encounter, whether it’s a client, vendor, city inspector, architect, consultant or coworker. It preserves our reputation and results in much better services from the other parties involved on a project.

The circle of life -“ Your work product will be passed on to someone else. How well you prepare your product directly impacts the next person’s ability to perform his or her job. Respect the circle and do it right so they can, too.

At our year-end annual company party, we recognize top contributors with the Ray Zabar award. Their names are engraved on a large trophy topped by a gold weightlifter raising a bar (ray-zing a bar) above his head. We display it prominently in our large conference room for all to see throughout the year.

Bringing Ray to life has personalized these values and the hard work, high standards, reliability and integrity that defines our work. I’m proud to say that every Sachse employee can list these Rayisms, and more importantly, applies them daily in their jobs. The result is a steadily growing group of satisfied, loyal repeat clients who regularly refer new business to us.

Todd A. Sachse is president of Sachse Construction & Development Company, where he is responsible for the overall direction of the company and oversees the day-to-day sales, accounting, administration, estimating and field operations activities. Sasche Construction is a three-time winner of Metro Detroit’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For. Reach Todd at [email protected].