Our Values and Beliefs

WELCOME TO NET OBJECTIVES

(this is an excerpt from the Net Objectives employee manual)

A Note from our CEO, Al Shalloway

It is my pleasure to welcome you to Net Objectives. As stated later, the intentions of this document are to help you be more effective within Net Objectives. I wanted to add a more personal note at the start. When people join a company it is natural to bring their past experiences to it. Some of this can be good – one’s experience can be used to make things better and to avoid challenges. But some of this can also be limiting. If one has had bad experiences at a company and comes to a new one bringing a degree of mistrust, it can limit what is possible. Now, we all have judgments and I’m not suggesting you start with a completely clean slate – that’s a very difficult thing for humans to do. But I am suggesting that you will find Net Objectives to be a fairly unique company. One which has a true commitment to walking its talk and being true to its value. I encourage you to take an active role in making Net Objectives an even better company than it now is. I invite you to talk to me at any time you see something that needs improvement. I invite you to help make this company be one you’d like to spend the rest of your career in. That is a partnership I can really get excited about. I hope you can too, regardless of how long you actually want to be here.

Welcome to Our Company!

We’re very happy to welcome you to our company. Thank you for joining us! We want you to feel that your association with the company will be a mutually beneficial and pleasant one.

You have joined an organization that has established an outstanding reputation for quality products and services. Credit for this goes to every one of our employees. We hope you too, will find satisfaction and take pride in your work here.

Background / History

Net Objectives, Inc. was started by the unending passion of one man, Mr. Al Shalloway. At Net Objectives, we are committed to delivering the principles, practices and perspectives that businesses must know in order to maximize their return on their technology solution and software development efforts. We combine our experience and a time proven approach based on lean thinking to continuously extend the capability of what is possible in creating effective technology delivery organizations (IT or product). We provide these learned methods to our clients to assist them in achieving their goals and in assisting them in making their organizations more successful.

Our Core Values

Here are the core values of Net Objectives, as described by Al Shalloway

Value

Description

Value #1A.

Add value to our clients

Everything we do is geared towards adding value to our clients. The compensation we receive should be related to the value the clients have received. If they are not satisfied, we should not be paid. Client 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 client value we focus on our own financial well-being.

We have a long track record of proving that we walk our talk here. Never hesitate to do what is necessary to make our clients happy. While we will give refunds when the client is not happy because we haven’t delivered on our promises, please make that suggestion to Al Shalloway or Mike Shalloway. This is because there are proper ways to give discounts. Also, never deliver a course that you believe is not in the client’s best interest – even if they demand it. We have walked away from requests for proposals in the past because we knew what they were asking for was not really in their best interest. We tried to convince them of that, but when unable, refused to offer the requested service.

Part of this value is giving back to the community. Net Objectives’ marketing has been based on free seminars and webinars from its very beginning. The thought has always been if we promote an event and we do not get any money from it, we’ve added value to the community and in the long run, that’s a good thing.

Important note: If you ever believe that we are violating this policy, please contact me immediately. If you believe I am the one violating policies, I particularly make this request. If you are concerned about contacting me directly (I assure you I consider it a favor, not a problem) then talk to Scott Bain. He will keep the communication in confidence and will let me know the challenge.

Value #1B.

Add value to ourselves 

Our company is truly our people. We must take care of ourselves to take care of our clients. Note this is also a #1 value. We have repeatedly demonstrated our commitment here by allowing people to pretty much set their schedule. Not to mention sending people to conferences, buying books and equipment, and scheduling time to collaborate.

Value #3.

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.

Value #4.

Value People Working together towards a common goal

While the other values were stated virtually at Net Objectives’ inception, this one was added circa 2006. 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 the time this value was added 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, it is essential that their vision is consistent with that of the company. This helps resolve different opinions which may be irresolvable without a common committed goal.

Value #5.

Excellence

Originally ‘Technical Excellence’ but the intention was always that 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.

Supporting Beliefs

There are five fundamental beliefs that also underlie the company.

Belief

Description

Success

Years ago I heard Earl Nightigale, sometimes called the “Dean of Personal Development”, say “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.” I’ve liked this the moment I heard it (early 90s). Probably because at the time I was struggling financially and my business at the time would not have been considered a success by many standards.

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.

Wealth

There is another Earl Nightingal-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 70s 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.

Build “Net Objectives” as a brand rather than “Al Shalloway.”

Many companies in our industry are totally defined by their owner. Bob Martin of Object Mentor, Joshua Kerievsky of Industrial Logic, amongst others. While I know that Net Objectives is often identified with me, I am committed to having a Net Objectives brand and not an Al Shalloway brand. 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. It can stand 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 before mine.

 

A Note about “Walking Our Talk”

Net Objectives is run in a different manner than most any company I am aware of. There are a few based on similar values (Menlo Innovations, Richard Sheridan’s company) but, unfortunately, very few. As companies grow larger they often tend to get away from the values that drove their growth in the first place. When one looks at the almost $200,000 insurance bill for 2015 (and what will grow to over $500,000 next year) it is easy to see why “cutting costs” is an attractive alternative to many. Not to me. In fact, it’s not an alternative at all. It’d be poison. Now, keeping costs under control is critical for an organization to survive – so sorry, not saying everyone can start taking first class flights ;0). Let me explain.

One thing I’ve learned is not to go against one’s own values. Doing so has several adverse effects. To understand these one must understand the doctrines of karma and dharma. While these have a religious origin, one can believe in them in a secular manner – which is how I believe in them. And, if one does believe in a higher spirit (again I do but I don’t want to impose that on anyone) one can thank that spirit for setting up the world to work this way.

Karma is the belief that the sum of our past and current actions has a deciding influence on our future. Dharma signifies behaviors that are in accord with the order that makes life and the universe possible (again, take a secular view if desired or God’s will otherwise). To add a new age perspective, these concepts are the heart of the law of attraction. Karma and Dharma implies going against our own values sets up the following:

  1. We destroy our own power because we obviate our own belief system
  2. We no longer align with the universe and it therefore doesn’t align with (assist) us
  3. People around us are unconsciously aware of this inauthenticity and are disenfranchised from us

All this to save a few dollars. Aggh, bad choice. Always.

I put this out there not in an attempt to change anyone’s belief system or even to justify my own. I put this out there because you all have been attracted to Net Objectives (otherwise you wouldn’t be here) and I believe my belief system underlies much of what is attracting you. Many new to a company have a natural concern if the company walks its talk. We do. I wanted you to know it’s not a capricious decision. It’s the essence of our being.