Each year, at Thanksgiving, I’m asked to write something for our blog or newsletter that speaks to our company culture and values. It’s no secret that I love the family aspect of Thanksgiving. In fact, it has become a custom at Mountz to share a pre-Thanksgiving lunch together, where we all cook and eat together. We also give turkeys to each of our employees and make a donation of turkeys to a variety of worthy homeless shelters, churches and food banks. Thanksgiving is an opportunity to think about all the people that touch our life and to be thankful for these blessings and gifts. It is a reminder to me to slow down, breathe and to remember those around me that are so important.
What I want to speak about this year is the capability of people and our belief that it is our responsibility as an employer to develop and even transform people. We often talk about People at Mountz. It is important to comprehend whom we are talking about when we use the word People. As a core value we say we will CARE ABOUT PEOPLE. Who are these People? At Mountz, we see People as a network. It starts with a Mountz employee, our customers and vendors, our community and from an overall perspective our Nation (really, anyone we touch doing business and it also extends to those we touch in our personal life as well).
In essence, one key value of our company starts with a philosophy to CARE. Our belief is that we can build the capability (natural ability) of people when we start from a platform of service and attention.
We also feel that is how we must build customer relationships – we must prove that we are worthy to our customers by giving them what they need and more – listening, being attentive, show a sense of urgency and do what we say we will do. This is required to earn trust and ongoing relationships with all People. Clearly these are similarities to how we treat our employees and customers – both of whom we cherish.
Building capability in people is painstaking, long-term work where the goals are not always as clear. If you are a parent this is well understood because each day our mission is to build capability in our children. Sometimes, we delight with a glimmer of success, but many times we are crushed by disappointment – a swing and miss.
This is the way building capability works. It is a labor of love. It’s a process. However, without this investment in people we cannot truly live up to our value of caring for others. So, we start with the premise that CARING FOR PEOPLE matters and is at the core of what we do. I liken this to planting a seed and electing to water it or not. If you do not water it the results are predictable. If you do, now your skill in getting that seed to be productive is what is measured. Do you have the right soil? Do you prepare it correctly? Do you plant and fertilize it correctly? Do you water it enough or too much?
It is more about the skill of the planter than the seed that determines development. Starting with the belief that care and attention will build the capability of people can sometimes lead to a total transformation.
Mountz has countless examples of this approach working with our people. This is something we are very proud of and often comment about internally. One example, which will undoubtedly create a little embarrassment, is our corporate service manager. James Bassett started at Mountz nearly twenty years ago as a repair technician. We like to tease him that his hair, at that time, was as long as David Lee Roth (former& current lead singer of Van Halen). Today, he runs a multi-branch service team and is a leadership mentor for many new employees. He often comes to work in a sport coat (no one would have predicted that twenty years ago) and has even been known to wear a tie on special occasion. His development included assignments in customer service, quality and multiple outside training programs to ready him for his current role, which has included overseas travel and sitting on important committees that help guide our company. His development did not come without swings and misses and it did not come easy – but it occurred nonetheless. James, now a manager, has made a total transformation from the day he started at Mountz.
It is not amazing. This did not happen by chance. A great seed was planted and with a little care and attention it grew, and grew and grew.
Our philosophy to care about People is one we feel is paramount to our success as a business. While we are in the fastening and torque control business, our real business is the People business. We are challenged to meet the needs (our goal is to exceed the needs) of over 7500 of the world’s largest manufacturing and service customers and those smaller in size that put their trust and confidence in us with their purchases. These are all People with unique needs. Care and attention and building capability in people is necessary to meet the needs of our customers.
As for Thanksgiving, its origin is mixed with controversy these days. Yet, today it allows us a chance to enhance our People skills. There are a couple of things Thanksgiving brings to Mountz each year.
- Turkeys will be given to each employee and the needy in our community
- We will cook and eat together, building fellowship and enjoying some laughs and some great food prepared by our team of dedicated and passionate employees
- We will all pause for a few minutes to give thanks to the things important to each of us, as well as to be thankful for the relationship we have with one another
- We will have fun (another value)
- We will toast a cheer to our customers and supply chain – giving thanks for the chance to continue to serve them
Even after 50 years of business and many Thanksgivings taking time together is another way we build the capability of our people.
President & CEO
Appreciate your thoughts and goals.
Your thoughts bring to mind Philippians 2:3 “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”
Hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving
Dear Mr. Mountz:
I’m sure you get lots of “Bravos” for your Thanksgiving message, let me add mine. Thank you for a thoughtful and heart-warming letter. I try to follow the same philosophy in my little company, but most of my people would rather have a steak than a turkey! So that’s what we do–a good time at the steak house. BEST and warmest regards, sir! rob