Now, more than ever, people are talking about values.
Not the kind you get at discount stores, or when plane fares go on sale, but the values that make people and businesses who and what they are.
In today’s competitive marketplace, any company who has a specific set of core values that speaks to their customer base precisely, and the general public as well, definitely has a competitive advantage. Values tell clients and prospects not only what the company stands for, but also what ethics and morals they operate by. And that, in itself, gives a clear identity to the company.
Developing a set of core values isn’t rocket science. Adhering to them in your day-to-day operations can indeed be as difficult as rocket science. They not only define a company, but they also help companies in day-to-day decision-making process. And if all of the employees are thoroughly trained and on-board with the company’s values, the operations are conducted in accordance to those values without a second thought. It’s ingrained in their thought process.
For example, if a company makes a product, and one of the company’s values is products only of the highest quality, then any products not meeting that quality standard would automatically be eliminated.
With millennials becoming such a large part of today’s workforce, values have become an integral part of the recruiting and retention process. Today’s job seekers are looking for companies whose values match their own. When an employee is around people every day who share common values and beliefs, they feel more secure, and the end result of that is increased productivity, higher morale and a stronger bottom line. It also means less turnover, since talented people want to work in environments where they can develop and thrive. Top performers seek out organizations with values that match their own.
Light Tower Rentals (LTR) is an example of a company that created their values before they created their products over two decades ago. The company was founded in 1994 by Ted Hogan and John Avary as a way of renting self-contained lighting units for Permian Basin oilfields. Over the past 22 years they have expanded their product line, their geographic footprint and their number of employees. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the initial set of values they formulated back in the beginning.
“Core values are defined as those things which we believe are the most important aspects of who we are and how we treat others,” said Hogan, CEO of Light Tower Rentals. “If we as a company don’t adhere to those values in our day-to-day work, we could have the best products and service in the world and it still wouldn’t be what we strive for.”
It’s values that drive operations
LTR’s values comprise five basic tenets: safety, integrity, customer service, teamwork and accountability.
According to Hogan, doing the job right means doing the job safely. “Safety is our top priority. Safety pays for everyone,” he said. “The cost of injury prevention is far less than the cost of an injury, and a safe and healthy workplace attracts and retains quality employees. A safe company is an asset to a community, operates more efficiently and enjoys a healthy bottom line. The business and the workers both thrive in a safe, healthy, respectful and caring environment.”
LTR also believes that being a safe company helps to establish positive community relations by being a good neighbor, and that includes environmental safety as well as workplace safety.
Just as it is in one’s personal life, integrity in business is paramount. As reggae musician Bob Marley once said: “The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.”
Integrity at LTR includes the most basic of human traits: honesty, respect for others, trustworthiness and ethical behavior in all interactions with customers, suppliers and colleagues.
Customers are the lifeblood of any operation, and LTR does not take service to those customers lightly. You can have the biggest company in the world, but all it takes is one bad experience for a customer to go away. And with the plethora of social media, business networking sites, and word-of-mouth availabilities available now, it doesn’t take long for that one bad experience to grow into an avalanche of bad karma. That’s why LTR treats each and every customer as if they were the only customer.
“We strive to exceed our customer commitments,” said Hogan. “We do that first by listening to the customer. Our goal of achieving premier customer service is accomplished by appreciating their business and treating them like partners. We pride ourselves in being a leader in customer service by being knowledgeable in what we do, providing quick turn-around for maintenance or repair, training our staff to expert levels and providing our customers with seamless support for all operations.”
Much of that has to do with availability, and LTR’s support personnel are available 24/7.
Teamwork is another major component of LTR’s values. The management and employees believe that they are stronger together than alone. “We embrace cooperation,” Hogan continued. We’ve developed the concept of ‘One LTR’, which is our step towards setting standards for consistent execution and performance in those areas, and then duplicating them across all of our branches. When we are all using the same tools and processes, each enhancement can more easily be shared across the organization.”
The final element in LTR’s set of values is accountability. “It’s very easy to make a mistake and blame it on someone else,” Hogan said. “We’ve been seeing a lot of that in politics. But business is a whole different thing. We believe in taking personal responsibility for our commitments, actions and results. If we see it, we own it. And if we do make a mistake, we admit it and take action to not make them again.”
Light Tower Rentals has grown and flourished over the past 22 years, but their commitment to their values which were developed in the beginning hasn’t changed. Perhaps that’s why they are still around in the oil patch when so many others have fallen by the wayside.