A Tight Ship With a Big Heart

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the past few weeks on defining our company’s core values more clearly than we have in the past. Or as Zingerman’s likes to call them, Guiding Principles. We kind of knew what they were, but it’s a cool process to get everyone involved in giving them a name and sharing stories about them.

My favorite core principle so far: A Tight Ship with a Big Heart. It makes me think about the time a group of Safety Netters made amazing handmade things and offered up their cooking and photography skills to raise money for a family in need. Or company picnics where people watched their coworkers’ kids for them so they could participate in whatever crazy activity was going on. And working out an arrangement where an associate who needed to travel to spend a month with family members who were ill could still have her income and her job waiting for her when she returned. This week, like every year on an inevitably rainy day in April, staff volunteers load thousands of pounds of dusty, heavy computers, server batteries, and big printers in and out of a truck so they go to Goodwill instead of a landfill.

We got feedback recently from a job candidate that Safety Net seemed “procedural.” For him, that wasn’t a fit. To me, it was a perfect illustration of why that fit is so important to evaluate – and I was grateful to him for his honesty. Everyone is different in what makes them comfortable and how they go about their work. We believe in playbooks and procedures for just about everything, because we’re an IT security firm. Meticulous attention to detail is a must. Beyond that, it’s also how our clients get consistency no matter who’s helping them out that day. Have you ever gone to a restaurant and had your favorite dish prepared totally differently than you’ve come to expect? Major bummer, right?

So… yes! When it comes to carrying out our work, it’s a tight ship. I don’t think people would take a ride on a loose one. It’s also a place where people care a lot about other people – colleagues, clients, and community.