Open Communication and Opportunity

As we wrap up our look at the PFSbrands Core Values, we finish with a Core Value that all great companies have in common and that is Open Communication. Then we look at the Core Value that every single one of our employee-owners should be excited for and that is ‘Everyone has the opportunity to excel.’

First, let’s review the Core Values we’ve already discussed. Be sure to read the previous Core Values articles below:

PFSbrands Core Values 

  1. Have fun
  2. Always treat others as you want to be treated
  3. Practice ‘ownership thinking’
  4. Positive ATTITUDE always
  5. I – There’s no I in TEAM
  6. No complaining
  7. Entitlements do not exist
  8. Structure & balance – God, family, work, and everything else
  9. Straight talk and Simple is better
  10. Remember that the customer is why we are here
  11. U never get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression
  12. Learn to communicate openly through all channels
  13. Everyone has the opportunity to excel

If you follow the first letters down, you will notice that our Core Values spell out HAPPINESS RULE.  As we all live and work by these Core Values I guarantee you that our work will be more fun and more rewarding.  I’ve already broken down Core Values 1 through 10 and below you will see Core Values 11 through 12.

1. Have Fun

2. Always Treat Others as You Want to be Treated

3. Practice Ownership Thinking

4. Positive Attitude Always

5. I – There’s No I In Team

6. No Complaining

7. Entitlements Do Not Exist

8. Structure & Balance – God, Family, Work, & Everything Else

9. Straight Talk & Simple is Better

10. Remember That the Customer is Why We Are Here

11. U Never Get a 2ND Chance to Make a 1ST Impression

12. Learn to Communicate Openly Through all Channels

As I’ve surveyed our employee-owners over the years and asked them what people would change within the company to make improvements, one of the typical responses is ‘communication’.  This answer is one of my pet peeves but it continues to surface regardless of how hard we work to communicate to our entire team.

In a lot of cases, I believe that many people use ‘communication’ as a “crutch” when they are asked about what can improve in a company. I believe when people mention that they’d like to see communication improve there is generally a bigger issue. In our culture we’ve worked hard to encourage straight talk so we don’t see this survey response as much as we used to. However, COMMUNICATION is critical in all companies especially those that are growing rapidly.

At PFSbrands, I’ve worked hard to create an open door policy where ANYONE, AT ANY TIME, CAN CONTACT ME (OR HUMAN RESOURCES) TO DISCUSS ANYTHING!  It’s that simple. Regardless of our growth, I plan to always have this open policy.  I simply ask that individuals attempt to go through their leader first so that they have an opportunity to address the issue.  If the issue is important and does not get resolved, each employee-owner knows that they can take it to a higher level.

A leader in our company knows that they should never reprimand an employee-owner for aggressively seeking solutions to a situation.

Our company encourages open communication from top to bottom.  At no time should people feel threatened about copying someone on an email, taking a situation further up the ‘leadership chain’, or offering ‘straight talk’ to anyone in the company.

I know that if we hire the right people, promote the right people, and live by our Core Values, uncomfortable issues are going to be few and far between.

13. Everyone has the Opportunity to Excel

As a company, if we live and operate under all of our Core Values, there is absolutely nothing holding us back.  The opportunity to excel has come naturally with growth and will continue to come naturally as we focus on these Core Values.

At PFSbrands we’ve created hundreds of new positions over the years and provided career advancement opportunities for many individuals.  We take pride in offering everyone an opportunity to advance financially and professionally.  Occasionally it is important to seek talent from the outside to assist our company with the unique challenges we face as a rapidly growing company.  However, I commit to promoting from within as much as possible.

If someone has the right attitude, a desire to succeed, the ability to embrace our mission and vision statements, and the willingness to adopt our Core Values, numerous opportunities will be available.  We have a challenging work environment with high expectations.  We seek out competitive people that want to invest time to focus on self-improvement and constant learning.  Things change rapidly in companies that are growing. People need to grow themselves in order to keep pace.

Wrap-Up

When I put our Core Values in writing on November 28, 2011, we had approximately 35 employees. We had roughly 400 Champs Chicken locations across 25 states and we had been in business for nearly 14 years!  Unlike a lot of companies, instilling these Core Values was not a major shift for those working within our company.  These Core Values (or many of them) had already resonated throughout the company and within many individuals.

Today we are a 100% employee-owned company with over 130 employee-owners. We have over 1,200 branded foodservice locations spread across 39 states and we will celebrate 20 years in business this July. Our Core Values have played a major part in our continued success and the success of our retail operators.

Change is never easy and often resisted.  Our culture did not change or improve overnight.  It took many years and a concerted effort to ensure that everyone conducts themselves according to these Core Values.  Our leadership team is consistently reminding everyone to always live by our core purpose, our mission, our vision, and our Core Values.  We tell our employee-owners that our culture is their responsibility. If they encounter someone doing something outside of our Core Values, it is their responsibility to offer some constructive criticism and/or some straight talk to correct the situation.  If unacceptable conduct continues, they have various channels to go through to correct the situation. We work hard to coach people up or coach them out. Most of those individuals that don’t fit our culture are still great people. Therefore, we work diligently to help them find employment elsewhere and responsibly remove them from our thriving culture.

As a 100% employee-owned company, and as a company made up of team members that think and act like owners, we are all here for the betterment of the company.  We focus on the bottom-line, we have fun, we care about others, we have high expectations, we embrace all of the Core Values, and we all have fantastic opportunities to become more successful. Thanks for listening!

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