Are Entitlements Holding You Back?

One of the great things about leading a fast-paced, high growth company is the ability to see people work hard and be rewarded with career advancement.  At Pro Food Systems (PFSbrands) our mission statement starts with:

“We exist to empower our employees and allow them the opportunity to build their futures…”

Employees Come First

Let me start by saying that many companies talk a big game about how important their customers are.  In fact, many companies often talk about the fact that the customer always comes first.

Well, that all sounds good in regular business ‘theory’ but I disagree.

If you don’t have happy and engaged employees, they will never give your customers the type of high level service that makes companies great.  That’s why I have always believed that it is the leaders of a company that must be committed to creating a culture that ensures your employees ALWAYS come first.

No Room for Entitlements in an Employee-first Company

The word “entitlement” is a word that comes out of my mouth often.  I know some get tired of hearing it.  However, I firmly believe that entitlements are quickly eroding the American Dream.  America has been built on freedoms and the ability to work hard, dream big, and achieve greatness regardless of your background.

In today’s society we are punishing successful people by steadily increasing their tax rates as they become more successful.  Workers and business owners pay larger amounts into various different “buckets” only to have that money spread out largely to entitlement programs.

I believe so passionately about the entitlement issue that one of our core values at PFSbrands is “Entitlements Do Not Exist”.

Several years ago I read a book that talks a lot about entitlements and the damage they are doing to our country and our workers.  You may want to check out Brad Hamm’s book, Ownershisp Thinking.  Brad does a great job with this topic in one of the chapters.

The Keys to Employee Advancement

All of that being said, at PFSbrands, everyone has the opportunity to excel.  The key word here is opportunity.

In order to excel you have to consistently show a work ethic and the ability to constantly learn.  You have to be willing to accept constructive criticism and improve your weaknesses.

More importantly, you must be able to recognize your strengths and constantly work to get better in these areas.  Within every successful team there are individual contributors with different skill sets.

On a baseball team you don’t see too many catchers that can get up on the mound and pitch.  Everybody has different abilities.  As teams become larger and better, everyone must become more specialized.  Finding your interests and strengths are critical to advancement.

If you are not satisfied with your current job the first thing you need to do is take a SERIOUS look in the mirror.  Yes you heard me correctly, look in the mirror first.

Ask yourself the following:

  1. Am I doing everything possible to learn about our business?
  2. Am I doing everything possible to read, study, and seek out mentors that will improve my interaction skills?
  3. Am I working to be a leader, even though I do not have a “management” position?
  4. Am I working for a company that rewards work ethic, drive, and ability?
  5. Am I working for a company that simply rewards people for how long they have been employed?

The first thing you have to recognize is that you are not perfect.  You have to adapt your personality to mesh with the people you work with and interact with.  You have to adjust your approach to different individuals.  You have to lead by example and stop complaining that you always get the “raw deal”.  You have to stop thinking that you are entitled to things.  People that accept entitlements may survive, but they will rarely ever excel.  People that don’t work on themselves, will never excel.  Invest in YOU first.

It’s Time to End Job Dissatisfaction

Dissatisfied with your current job?  Find your way to show up at work EVERYDAY with a positive attitude.

Work to always be a pleasure to be around.  Never get involved with the gossip and complaining.  Begin surrounding yourself with other successful people.  Begin surrounding yourself with other people with positive attitudes.  Begin watching different leaders and modeling those that have a servant leadership style.  Change YOUR approach with individuals that you may not particularly get along with each day.  Finally, be patient.  Change takes time, especially if others have a negative perception of who you are.

Positive attitudes are contagious.  Success is contagious too!  The first step in growing yourself is recognizing your flaws and deciding to improve yourself.  You can continue to say “I can’t.”  Or you can be like the Little Engine That Could and constantly say “I can”.

If you consistently say “I can”, if you have perseverance, and if you work hard, you WILL.

3 thoughts on “No Room for Entitlements in an Employee-first Company”

  • Mike Berendzen says:

    Good stuff, Shawn. I’m going to share it with my girls–teens should hear it as they prepare for college and after.

  • Great piece Shawn. I have been struggling to instill the same culture at our operation. Continue to mentor please.

    I struggle to find employees in a relatively small job market that has almost 10,000 unfilled positions, (The RV Industry) where my neighbor across the street pays $4.00 hr. more just to start. As we are experiencing growth, the opportunities for advancement are there, yet no takers. I gave everybody in the company a raise last October above and beyond normal merit raises. Yet, I heard of team members calculating how many hours less they could work and still bring home the same amount of money.

    The upshot is, I’m not discouraged. Tomorrow is another opportunity,

    • Thanks for the note Russ. It’s good to hear from you. We’ve recently started a new company called GRITT Business Coaching. If you ever want to explore how we may be able to help, just let me know.

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