Great Business Advice: Mind Your P’s and A’s. Part II: Philosophy

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The First P is Philosophy

The corporate philosophy is the basis for attracting and keeping the right employees as well as building a loyal customer base. Business leaders must decide on the corporate philosophy, create it, build it, live by it, and they must make sure that their employees live by it.

Everything an employee does, whether they are new hires or senior executives, must be justified in terms of the business’s philosophy. If the company stands for no mistakes, the best value-for-money, and personal responsibility in doing one’s job, then the philosophy is the anvil on which all decisions, systems and actions are tested. New hires learn the philosophy by being trained in “This is what our company stands for.”

All corporate decisions taken by senior execs must reflect “what our company stands for.” All marketing, sales, production and delivery systems must deliver “what our company stands for.” Everything from routine maintenance to clever innovations must help everyone be better at doing “what our company stands for.” That is what a business's philosophy is all about.

Mission statements, vision statements, corporate paradigms, new hire induction, training programs, job descriptions, operational manuals and handbooks, inbound and outbound marketing strategies, etc. must all work together to help people, customers and prospective customers to know and support “what our company stands for.”

When everyone expects everyone else to deliver on the company philosophy, the company succeeds. Here is a simple and classic example. Rolls Royce’s goal was to build the best cars in the world. Its philosophy was came down to "it is everyone’s job to achieve perfection." Henry Royce once, personally, took a hammer to a production batch of carburetors and smashed them because they were not quite good enough to go in one of “his” car engines.

No one got fired, but everyone was reminded that only perfect is “good enough” for Rolls Royce. The machine shop recalibrated the production equipment, the foremen checked on each worker’s knowledge, skill and attitude, and production continued. They never fell short again, because they all believed in, were trained in, and their equipment supported the corporate philosophy.

The Takeaway

Successful businesses do not pay lip service to their philosophy; they live it in everything that everyone does. That demands training and reinforcement. Employees must be trained in the “philosophy” of the company, how the company’s products or services deliver that philosophy to customers, and how they, personally, deliver on it doing their jobs. In Part III we will discuss the 2nd P: Promises, because what a company promises is what its employees produce, and it is what the customers buy. Philosophy supports Promises.

Aaron Ferguson

Written by Aaron Ferguson

Director of Business Development | A logistical chameleon with the ability to adapt to new challenges and simplify your supply chain.