I’ve recently had the privilege of getting to know Charles Brewer. Charles is a technology luminary who earned his success and reputation by founding and growing the internet service provider, MindSpring Enterprises. He is now the founder and principal of Las Catalinas, an amazing new Costa Rican town with an extremely bright future. Over the past year, Charles has become a huge role model for me and this was further ingrained when I began to learn more about the culture of his businesses, and specifically about his Core Values & Beliefs (CV&B’s)
My company, NanoLumens is in the early stages of our development and at a time when culture is being formed. With that in mind, I wanted to learn more about the CV&B’s so that I can help start things off for us on the right path. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to read an excerpt from one of his speeches. In a nutshell, it gave me goosebumps. This is the type of business manifesto I’ve been seeking for a long time and really captures the feelings that I’ve had about the right way to do business. I’ve jotted down some of my key takeaways below and hope they will spur you to read the letter.
- Management doesn’t know best, the people do: When you hire the right people, they’ll want to be successful. If given space and freedom, they will perform at peak.
- Honesty/Integrity: in EVERYTHING
- Only thing static in a sea of change: “Everything else about a company will change over time – the market, the people, the products. Only the values have a chance to remain constant and make the company different and better in a lasting way.”
- Well done beats well said: people have a pretty accurate bullshit meter if you are not authentic. “A false attempt at values based leadership is doomed to horrible failure.”
- To infinity: This practice is absolutely scalable, “but it requires that essentially everyone in the company become a champion and guardian of the CV&Bs”
- Customer Service: Customers are the most important element of a business, treat them extraordinarily.
- Frugality: Spend the company’s $ as if it was your own.
- “Have a drink on us!”: The story is told from when Mindspring provided a 25% Refund to all customers for an entire month and admitted that service was below their capabilities. This is a perfect example of doing the right thing no matter how painful or costly.
- Incorporate it into EVERYTHING: Charles stresses the need to continually articulate the values “all the time, in every way you can think of”. This means they are mentioned at every meeting, on backs of business cards, the website, discussions with vendors, etc.
- Employee letter excerpt: Read it. It was the major source of the goosebumps.
What takeaways do you have from the article below? If compelled to share, it would make my day! I hope you enjoy the article.