Net Objectives is based on the following values:
- Add value to our customers. Everything we do is geared towards adding value to our customers. The compensation we receive should be related to the value our customers have received. If they are not satisfied, we should not be paid. Customer satisfaction is premium. We believe in Earl Nightingale's statement that one's wealth is correlated with the value they are providing to society. We believe that by focusing on customer value we focus on our own financial well-being.
- Add value to ourselves. Our company is truly our people. We must take care of ourselves to take care of our customers.
- Work / Life Balance. Sustainability is key. We are not interested in merely having great consultants, we are creating a community of great consultants. This requires they be able to be here years from now which requires we take care of ourselves. This shows up in our willingness to have people travel less than at most consulting companies, while appreciating those who do travel considerably. We also often hire associates who do trainings during crunch time to keep our work level sustainable.
- Sharing Lessons Learned with the Community at Large. Net Objectives is about service. Part of this is an acknowledgment that we are successful as part of an eco-system of learning. We are committed to contributing to that eco-system as well as be contributed to by it.
- People working together towards a common goal is more important that heroes working in isolation. While the other values were stated virtually at Net Objectives’ inception, this one was added in 2008.Prior to this the attitude was that if we had great people who were motivated, wanted to do good and held our values, things were ok.But by this point it became apparent that having people who wanted to focus on the team without considering the enterprise was inconsistent with transforming an entire organization.While it is expected that people will have their own vision and specialty, we've learned it is essential that their vision is consistent with that of the company.This enables resolving different opinions which may be irresolvable without a common committed goal. Net Objectives values diversity - that makes us stronger. But diversity in achieving a common goal makes us much more effective.
- Excellence. By this we mean what we do be of very high quality and not merely of a commodity level. While we are not necessarily trying to create cutting edge work, we are focused on delivering leading edge work, work that will make the greatest difference with people.
Our values are supported by these beliefs (as told by Al Shalloway):
- Success. Years ago I heard Earl Nightingale (sometimes called the “Dean of Personal Development”) say, "Success is the progressive realization of a worth goal or ideal." I've liked this the moment I heard it (early 90's). Partly because at the time I was struggling financially and my business at the time would not have been considered a success by many standards. But I think mostly because it emphasizes that our lives are about our journey.
- Fun. While I sometimes (often?) have troubles with this one, I do believe if you are not having fun much of the time, you are doing something wrong. Not that our work is always fun. In many ways I look for satisfaction as the true measure. But if it is all satisfying and not fun, something is wrong. People learn and we teach better when it is fun.
- Wealth. There is another Earl Nightingale-ism I love – “Money is a measure of the value you are delivering to society,” (assuming you are involved in a venture with integrity). This means if you focus on value delivered the money will come. We have done this many many times – especially when money was tight. We didn’t ask – “how can we make more money” but rather “how can we add more value.” It’s always worked and I am confident it always will.
- Technology Gap. In ‘Unlimited Wealth”, Paul Pilzner outlines a few key premises and proposes a brilliant way to both make money and add great value to society. The key premise is that even though our resources may be limited our wealth is not. The reason is that wealth is correlated with resources multiplied by a technology factor. Prior to the 20th century, wealth was mostly measured in terms of physical resources you had. However, once technology enters the picture, wealth changes. A simple example involves oil. In the 70's we were told oil was running out. Technology has ‘increased’ our oil supply in two ways. First, better technology enables us to find more oil. However, more importantly, technology enables us to use the oil more efficiently. Doubling gas mileage from 7 mpg to 14 mpg effectively doubles the wealth the oil represents. Be clear Pilzner is not making any comment on how much we should drill for oil, but the point is resources alone no longer are a measure of wealth. Now, if one looks at a particular technology, many times there is a gap between the technology manifesting in society and what would be possible. Our own work represents a great example. People could be doing effective Lean-Agile but aren’t. He refers to the gap between what is possible and what is actually happening as the ‘technology gap.’ Pilzner asserts that the most effective way to add value to make money by adding value to technology is not by creating new possibilities (i.e., increase technology and the gap) but by ‘closing the gap.’ That is, by manifesting that which is already possible.
- It is important to build ‘Net Objectives’ as a brand rather than Al Shalloway. Many small consulting companies in our industry are totally defined by their owner. While I know that Net Objectives is often identified with me, I am trying to make it stand on its own. It is for this reason that when Addison Wesley asked me to create a book series in my name, I told them no, I wanted to create a Net Objectives series. Net Objectives is more than me and stands on its own without me. While I am glad and proud to be its visionary for a while, my intent is to build its reputation and not mine.