Is it possible for a company to survive when they put their people first over profits?
I work for one such company, The Vested Group. I was hired by one of the founders, Joel Patterson, to help him define, develop, and yes sometimes, defend his culture. He calls his culture: Best Job Ever.
I began by interviewing 10-15 of his employees at all levels in his current culture. I talked with the person keeping the supply office filled as well as partners and leadership team members. What I heard was:
“The best job I have ever had. I will never leave!”
“We work as a team not competitive with each other but motivating each other to be our highest potential.”
“Everyone is respected and valued.”
“An open door to the leaders.”
“People equal to profits.”
Well, you say, “Of course they would tell you that. They want to keep their jobs.” I thought that might be true also until I heard stories like:
A millennial sales consultant :
“After working for 3 months on a possible new customer for this company, I got turned down and since the potential of the customer was great, I felt I had failed the company miserably. One of the founders asked me to lunch for the next day and fearful of being fired, I went. The CEO told me he had let me down by not offering enough guidance and support and that he felt partly responsible for the loss of a possible client. Then he asked me to share with him what I felt I could most improve on for the next time.”
A young employee under stress to produce:
“Being new to the organization, as a sales consultant, I was asked to fly to Florida with the CEO to sell this future customer on our main product. I felt thrilled and flattered the boss took me only. The thrill turned into terror when while seated next to the CEO on the 2-hour flight, he looked at me very casually and told me he expected me to lead the sales presentation. I broke out in a cold sweat and told him I was not experienced enough. He looked around and told me: “Well you are the only one here so I guess you will have to do it.” I tried to think and remember other sales presentations the CEO had made so I could model after him but my fearful mindset let no rational thoughts or ideas enter my brain. I told the CEO I didn’t feel I was ready and he reassured him he believed in him and turned back to another project he was working on and left him to his own musings acting as if it was no big deal. I made the presentation and made the sale and felt very successful. I felt like for the first time in my life that someone believed in me.”
An employee challenged with an emergency health issue:
After being care flighted to another state for surgery for a liver transplant, this manager says: “I just remember looking up after the transplant surgery and seeing my CEO staring down at me telling me he knew I would be ok—and he just wanted to make sure I knew I was ok in my job—that it would be there when I came back to work, He had flown to be with me during my surgery!”
This is why I accepted his offer to come on board at The Vested Group and help him develop a coaching culture. I had always wanted to work for a leader who wanted to touch the people he/she served in ways that go beyond being a boss or owner of a company because that is exactly what my focus in my professional life is: helping people become who they could be. The reason I get up in the morning is to be a part of someone actualizing their highest potential.
I had just never known an entrepreneur who truly put people above profits—and still made money.
So yes! One way to run a truly successful business is to create a culture of caring about people enough to help them develop themselves as human beings not just so they could be better employees but so the organization could go beyond thriving financially.
I want to tell you more about how not only does a coaching culture, a Best Job Ever culture support the bottom line but in some research studies I found that this type of culture doesn’t just contribute to a higher profit margin, it actually causes bigger profits in the long run.
Tune in to more of the story on my You-tube up-coming channel: Spirituality Grows Businesses