When building things made of people…

     One of the most exciting things about owning a business is the dynamic nature of everything you come in contact with everyday. Nothing holds still for very long,  especially in a service business. New customers are welcomed into the community of lifelong customers we continue  to serve, estimates convert into work orders, technicians call in sick, jobs go sideways,  and the market constantly shifts; forever moving the bulls-eye just outside your cross-hairs. 

  So what are the secrets to success in such an ever-shifting and volatile environment? What is the compass we hold our core values up against to get a bearing toward success? The Dignity Principle shows us about the one force that seems like the only logical place to start. That force is your most valuable resource, the people you employ. But there’s a twist of course… it doesn’t start with them, it starts with you.

    A long time ago, I received some sage advice from Wes Herman, founder and owner of The Woods Coffee. He told me that no matter what we do, every individual in any company will ultimately end up personifying the most persistent traits of the owner. That is as powerful of an idea as it is petrifying when we stop and ask ourselves if we would be pleased with the thought of everyone in our organizations functioning from the same modus operandi as ourselves. Leadership happens in spite of our best  intentions to wrap it up nicely for display and whether we like it or not, if we are in a position where we are tasked with modeling the culture in any capacity for others, we have an immense responsibility to uphold. This is true for the technician who trains the new guy, all the way to the manager who hires and fires, but for none so critically as the business owner. In the words of Gary Vaynerchuk, “…everything that happens in a company is 100% the CEO’s fault.”

   Now that we’ve had a look in the mirror,  let’s focus on a key fundamental of The Dignity Principle and how it relates to both ourselves and our employees.   


The Dignity Principle prizes Relational Authority over Positional Authority. While Positional Authority must exist, it does not act without first recognizing the humanity/personhood of another.



Let me tell you a story about a guy I recently tried to fire….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s