It was 4:45PM and I was visiting one of our locations on my way to a 5:30PM networking event. I got a call on my cell phone from one of our very experienced managers named Jason, and he had a question. Jason began the conversation with, “I’ve come across something that I don’t know that I have ever come across before”. He then relayed to me that he had a customer call in for a price on 200 corrugated signs. Since this is a good profitable order, my attention perked, but then he went on to explain that the customer wanted us to print these signs with the picture of a 3rd person, and that person’s name and crimes that that person had been convicted of committing. After he laid out the situation, Jason said, “This just doesn’t seem to sit right with me”.
As I had my mind on the conversation that I was having at the location that I was visiting and keeping my eye on the time as to not be late for my networking event, so what Jason was telling me was not fully sinking in. My first thought was that we are only printing the signs and not responsible for the content, and I asked Jason why he had a concern. He responded, “I don’t know, but it just doesn’t feel right”. Then it hit me as well…it just didn’t feel right.
I put the phone on speaker and brought Ramon, the manager that I was visiting, in on the conversation. Ramon brought the conversation back to where it needed to be, which is being driven by our VALUES. Ramon reminded me that we always look to our VALUES for direction.
Jason, Ramon and I decided that we would think about this issue overnight and make the decision in the morning. The next morning, during our Work-Start meeting, we used this decision as a teaching opportunity. I explained to the team our issue and told them how both Jason and Ramon, had decided to make this decision…by filtering it through our VALUES.
Once we filtered the decision through our VALUES, it was an easy one to make. One manager pointed out that under the of RESPECT, it reads “Showing respect for EVERYONE by treating others as you would like for them to treat you”. This doesn’t read, “Showing respect for non-felons”. This reads, “Showing respect for EVERYONE”. The other manager pointed out that under EXCELLENCE our VALUES read, “…evaluating ourselves by asking Would you put your name on it?”. He said that he couldn’t and wouldn’t put his name on a sign that disrespected another human being, and we agreed that we couldn’t either.
What looked to be a difficult decision with a potential for a loss of sleep turned out to be pretty easy. If not for these two VALUES based leaders, I may have made an instinctively wrong decision. I am thankful that both of these two, high integrity leaders are committed to doing the right thing. I am thankful that they both looked to our VALUES as a guide and I am thankful that they are holding each other, and me, accountable!