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Core Values: Why we Care

Great things in business are never done by one person. They are done by a team of people.

Steve Jobs.

Last month the management team at Buechel Stone met to review our 2018 year and plan for 2019. Now, I’m not a huge fan of meetings, but these meetings are inspiring. There is so much truth in the saying below.

People have several unique talents, but very few that can do it all, or quite honestly would accomplish much if they had to do it all on their own. What I love about our team is we all have very unique talents that compliment each other. 

One key takeaway from the meeting was the fact we’ve never really listed Buechel Stone’s Core Values on paper. I’m not big into the hokey side of business – all the fluffy stuff so many consultants and “business leaders” use to justify their existence. I like pushing forward and challenging the limits, making hard decisions that don’t allow for taking the easy way out. As we talked about our values, we felt it important to make them completely transparent. We want others to know what’s important to Buechel Stone, whether it’s a rockstar (aka employee), a vendor, or a customer. We’ve found that some of the biggest challenges we face are from those who don’t have the same values in the business as we do. If we don’t spell that out, how will people know if they want to work here, or if we are the type of place a customer or business wants to be a partner with.

We came up with the following 10 Core Values that matter at Buechel Stone:

  • Be profitable.
  • Service those who value and invest in the services we offer.
  • Respect the customer, but don’t be a doormat.
  • Be frugal. Every dollar counts.
  • Be safe. Work hard. And do the right thing.
  • Protect those who protect us.
  • Grow those who grow with us.
  • Perception is reality. Build best perceptions.
  • Own your work. Create your own destiny.
  • Have fun.

What’s so great about these 10 items? It’s easy to throw some words on a piece of paper and say, “See, we’ve got values!” For me at least, it helps solidify what we are in business for, and also how we manage our Mission Statement of being “the best, most dependable experience in the natural stone industry, guaranteed.” We already use our mission statement a lot in problem solving; from how to handle an employee issue, to working on best experiences with customers. The problem we found though, at times we would forget what else is important to the company and its rockstar employees. We have to make sure more than ever that what we are doing is protecting the long-term interests of the business.

1.) Be profitable.

…and if you consider it, be sure there’s an exit strategy if things go south!

This seems obvious right? Well the thing is it’s really easy to get sucked into doing favors that turn into bad, long-term decisions. I really like the old saying, “Try a lot of things, but fail fast and move on.” It’s very easy to get stuck trying to do things and not be smart about when to say enough’s enough. To me, it’s not failure. It’s smart. When you look at something and you figure out you can’t make money at it, why bother? Ego only gets you so far, and the road to bankruptcy is lined with stubbornness.  

2.) Service those who value and invest in the services we offer.

Price Is What You Pay, Value Is What You Get.

Warren Buffett

This one to me means as much about our staff as it does to any customer. There are so many people I work with I would go out of my way to help because they value Buechel Stone. That means a lot. That’s why we push things like our extra perks (#REAP – Rockstar Extreme Anniversary Program — paid birthday off, pay for volunteering… and more!).

3.) Respect the customer, but don’t be a doormat.

welcome-mat-quote-self-esteem

Historically, we’ve been “the nice guys”. It’s why we live our mission of being the most dependable experience. Along the way though, there are times where others take advantage of this if you don’t also stand up for what is right. When someone is most locked in on the price of the product, and not the services we help them with, the long-term impact will never align with our value of service.

4.) Be frugal. Every dollar counts.

The art is not in making money but in keeping it.

Proverb

Our business requires fairly large capital expenditures to maintain productivity and keep things moving forward. We treat our vendors the same as we want our customers to treat us. It’s not just about the bottom dollar. It’s important to get the best value for the money that is spent.

5.) Be safe. Work hard. And do the right thing.

Better a thousand times careful than once dead.

Proverb

Pretty well self-explanatory. Our safety rating is a key to business success, not because of money, but it is key to great family business. I never want to call a family about someone being seriously hurt or worse. To keep everyone safe requires everyone to watch out for their fellow rockstars.

6.) Protect those who protect us.

testing a bulletproof vest, 1923 (1)

WH Murphy and his assistant – Protective Garment Corporation of New York

This is one of my favorite values. It covers a fairly large spectrum of people-related topics, from customers to rockstars. There are those that respect you for all you do for them, and then there are those that are completely indifferent. I don’t believe you’ll ever have everyone treat you the way you would treat them. What it does is help you make decisions about those who care for Buechel Stone on a personal level. If they don’t, don’t go out of your way to help them. Money is not help – that’s what’s expected in a business relationship. It’s the softer side of business. I love the photo above. I saw this and immediately saw imagery relating to this value. Buechel Stone is the bulletproof vest. It’s our job to do whatever we can to protect those who share our values.

7.) Grow those who grow with us.

watering stone

Before you are a leader, success is about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is about growing others.

Jack Welch

It goes hand in hand with #6. It’s why we have tuition reimbursement. Why we give out leads to our customers. Those who want to better Buechel Stone will get the same in return.

8.) Perception is reality. Build best perceptions.

wrong-customer-quote-on-storemypic-99d41

There’s a reason the saying “the customer is always right” exists. It’s not because the customer is really always right; it’s because their perception is their reality. If they have a feeling or perception about their product or experience, that’s all that really matters. It’s like my discussion with the sample department. We sell a natural product. Unique. One-of-a-kind. I’m pretty blunt with them. Their job will never be right. What they send out will almost always be different somehow. Their job is to be the least amount of wrong possible. 

9.) Own your work. Create your own destiny.

signing

Signing loan paperwork for the acquisition in North Carolina

The best way to predict the future is to create it.

Peter Drucker

Nothing in life is guaranteed. For me that means the more you can do to create your future the better. Things will go right, things will go wrong. Make sure to get more things right than wrong. And if things do go wrong, make sure to own that. Without mistakes there is no growth. Without accountability, there is no leadership.

10.) Have fun.

Whenever we have employee meetings, this is one of the items discussed a lot. Let’s face it. You spend almost a 1/3 of your life at work. Who wants to work somewhere they hate coming to? We’re pretty lucky. We don’t have people leave too often, and I think it is in part because we want people to work together and enjoy the day. When there are problems, we try to address them as quickly as possible. 

So there you have it. Core Values. Buechel Stone isn’t a perfect company. We are well aware there are things that go wrong from time to time. By making our core values front and center, everyone at least knows where we stand and what is important to the long-term success of everyone here.

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