An Acronym That Captures Our Culture

Every organization needs a theme song…a rallying cry… a phrase or acronym that encapsulates the principles that define its style.  Where would the Boy Scouts be without “Be Prepared”.

Building a productive culture at Engendren has always been of key importance to me, but I’ve never really had a clear and precise way of bringing together all the elements I felt were fundamental to the “lifestyle” I wanted for the company.  We needed a single term that everyone could remember, relate to and apply to their individual work.

But we didn’t have one…until now.

I had probably been subconsciously mulling over an entire glossary of words until one morning, just as I was finishing my low carb, ketogenic breakfast, they all came together in a single, captivating acronym.

REACH

By itself, that word presents a daily challenge to each employee to do more, do better, go beyond, make a bigger contribution than you were planning when you walked in the door that morning.

But beyond that, each letter within that word can be used to describe a vital organizational value, defining how each individual can personally make Engendren the most positive workplace possible.

Respect

It defines the proper attitude to exhibit when working with each other, embodied in the concept of “emotionless dialogue”.  It’s OK, actually desirable, to be passionate about what you do.  But when interacting with colleagues, we must honor their opinions through calm and reasoned discussion. Other demonstrations of respect are things like showing up for meetings prepared and on time or leaving common areas cleaner than when you found them.

A respectful organization avoids the “personality wars” that can sap vitality and impede improvement.  Instead, it serves as a platform for energizing brilliant employees and maximizing their creativity.

Empowerment

Empowerment, to both those who are empowered and those who do the empowering, is an essential element to job satisfaction, personal growth and optimum performance.

In an environment that practices empowerment and delegation, work tasks, no matter what they may be, naturally find the most appropriately responsible person to perform them.  Some like and excel at tasks that others dislike or are not well-suited to perform.  Empowerment sorts out the work to those who enjoy and will “rock” what they embrace, enhancing satisfaction and productivity.  I think of it as somewhat of a law of human nature.  Why break a law that makes life better for all?

Empowerment has both an active and passive perspective.  Everyone is encouraged to thoughtfully delegate.  Those who are thereby empowered must embrace the authority and responsibility conveyed.  Eventually it brings an end to the “Not My Job” syndrome, and provides tangible and meaningful incentives for wide-spread skill development and career growth.  Everybody wins again.  Terrific.

Accountability

I also believe in a couple other laws of human nature, and wish to apply their great strength: Taking pride in our accomplishments, and the fact that the more we achieve, the more we seek to achieve.

With careful assignment of responsibility for personal and company goals, accountability is the lynch pin to receiving credit for jobs well done. Accepting accountability is a noticeable way to demonstrate willingness and ability to be a leader, the one who keeps things moving forward and is eligible to receive proper recognition for the results.  Repeated success when one is accountable builds confidence to take on ever larger challenges, producing more rapid and larger scale growth along with job and life satisfaction.

Creativity

As a manufacturer of highly engineered and custom-designed product, our existence is dependent on a consistent flow of new ideas — and their effective evaluation and implementation.  Creating new concepts goes beyond product itself into the way the business is operated, how it’s structured, and to its ability to react to changes in market conditions.  The flexibility and opportunity that innovation provides has maintained us in the past, and it will form our future.

Health

In this context, health has many facets; a healthy business, physical health for the employees supported by a healthy and safe work environment, a healthy outlook for the future, a healthy attitude about one’s job and healthy opportunities for career growth.  At the core of each iteration sits the comforting feeling of happiness, the assurance that all is well and it’s even going to get better.

Happiness is often thought of as how we feel after some event occurs; after we get that raise, buy a new car or hunting rifle, adopt a puppy, go on vacation, get married, have a child … then we’ll be happy.  But happiness should occur during the journey, not just when we reach the destination.  Achievements and assets come with a happy and healthy life; not the other way around.  As a result, healthy happiness is the ultimate currency.  And I’m certain that as we, together, embrace the REACH concept, we’ll all be “richer”.

My goal is to make the REACH concept the most prominent component of the Engendren culture.  A “law” of human learning is that we need to hear new things seven times before we really hear them for the first time.  Everyone on our team will be hearing REACH well more than seven times as it is such an important statement of who we are and the environment in which we conduct ourselves every day. I rolled out REACH to the employees only recently, and I’m quite encouraged by the ongoing conversations it has generated within our organization

Watch for updated posts on our certain progress.  In the meantime, I hope your life is filled with REACH as well.