On January 3, 2008 Room & Board, which sells hand crafted American-made furniture created their Guiding Principles – principles they incorporate daily in their operations. These principles are not only inspiring, they are also down-to-earth and provide a true compass during decision making. For anyone who is looking to revamp, recreate or reconsider their foundation (purpose, mission, values) – this is an excellent example of what’s possible when thoughtfulness, vision and authenticity unite. With their permission, I have replicated verbatim these principles:
We need to provide for ourselves and those we love. That’s the very basic premise that brings us to work each day. But beyond the obvious economics of work, we believe that our endeavors should have meaning.
It’s our belief that a comfortable home and good design are an enhancement to people’s lives. Building relationships with our customers and helping them create homes they love, gives us great satisfaction. When we can share this passion with individuals with whom we enjoy working, there is nothing better!
SETTING THE STAGE
Your past work experiences may have been quite different from what you’ll experience at Room & Board. We do things differently. We challenge you to think in new ways; about how your role is defined, the relationships that you build, and your connection to the business and the outcomes that you achieve.
OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES
Respect and Relationships
Respect is foundational to our work environment. Everyone is expected to build relationships based upon mutual respect and collaboration; with one another as peers, as well as with our customers and vendor partners.
Our work doesn’t happen within the structure of an organizational chart. Real work happens within relationships. That’s why it is so important to understand how you affect others, including your peers. You should be comfortable providing consistent and meaningful feedback to everyone in the organization and openly receive insights shared with you.
Our vendor partners play a significant role in our success. We should treat them as true partners, respect their point of view and hold them to high standards. Our shared goal is mutual long-term success.
We share this one world and whenever possible, we expect each of us to make deliberate and responsible decisions to protect it.
Use good judgment when making decisions and apply principles, not rules to each situation.
Each of us should have a passion for our work and a commitment to our career. Engage with curiosity and lead with questions each and every day. You actions, not your title, will define your success.
We trust one another to work hard to keep our work commitments. Each staff member must remain accountable to the needs of the business while at the same time being afforded the flexibility to balance his or her personal obligations.
We push to innovate. With such a progressive mindset we understand that mistakes will be made. If they’re not, we probably aren’t trying hard enough. When you make a mistake accept it, communicate the reality of the situation and, with those you have effected, collaboratively decide how best to move forward.
We seek many voices when making decisions. Be open and honest when sharing your voice and expressing a different point of view. We expect differences of opinion and those challenges strengthen the outcome. And once a decision is made we must all engage fully to make it work.
Engaging in the Business
We share financial information because to be successful, each of us needs to be proactive in our understanding of how our actions affect the financial health of the organization.
The more you seek to understand how your role is related to our business objectives and tied to the broader success of the company, the more rewarding, enjoyable and challenging the effort.
Attaining a base level of sales growth and profit is necessary for our long-term health. It allows us to reinvest in the business, which in turn gives us the opportunity to continue to grow successfully.
As Room & Board grows, it is critical that we keep it simple. Each of us should care enough to get involved in the smallest of detail. When we focus on the basics, the rest will follow.
Room & Board’s annual business planning process is meant to be fluid to allow for the changing realities of our world. Our measures are often ranges supported by a well thought-out plan. This process avoids the game playing of trying to hit absolute numbers. Once our business plan is set we’re each accountable for the things that we control to achieve the plan.
Defining our Guiding Principles in this way is meant to encourage meaningful conversations that help you understand our uniqueness and support your success. We strongly believe these principles create a rewarding and deeply satisfying work experience. Embracing our Guiding Principles is an expectation we have of every Room & Board staff member.
Thank you Room & Board for sharing such an extraordinary and thoughtful document!