I once knew a man who was a pathological liar. He would consistently and conveniently, mangle, twist and distort the truth without care or regard of being caught in his own web of lies. As you can well imagine, the result of his behavior was a decided lack of trust among employees and clients alike.

I use him as an example of what not to do. Because as obvious as it may sound, you need to have trust and integrity within your company in order to successfully affect a corporate culture of change.  In this month’s Management Matters column on lean manufacturing, Tom Dossenbach states that owners must become “employers of choice” if they want to successfully change the corporate culture. He says, “In order to have a culture of change throughout your company, each and every one of your employees or associates must enjoy working with you and want to stay. In other words, you must be their employer of choice — and not by necessity because they need a paycheck next week.“
Dossenbach cites the Rotary Four-Way Test for employers to use in becoming — and remaining — an employer of choice. So as you communicate with your employees and set the course for your company, first ask yourself:
• Is what you’re telling them the truth?
• Is it fair to all concerned?
• Will it build goodwill and better
friendships?
• Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

These are questions we should all keep in mind, and apply them not only in the workplace, but in our daily lives as well.

Walking the Walk
Pacific Crest Industries CEO Steve Bell is a perfect example of a man who, with integrity, inspiration and a willingness to do what is “beneficial to all concerned,” has successfully grown his company into a multi-million dollar cabinet business. Bell, our 2009 Jerry Metz Achievement Award winner, was selected for the quality and productivity he promotes as part of the corporate culture.
 
In his interview with Associate Editor Wade Vonasek, Bell says, “The beginning of quality is really a culture. If you have a lousy culture and you tell [the employees] to go out and build a quality product, it is all just lip service. But when you start with respect and you live it and model it, then that respect is very easy to transfer over to the product that we are building. If we have any secret or magic at Pacific Crest Industries, it really comes down to culture.”
 
“Steve has developed a culture that we believe would be the envy of many CEOs,” says John Brush, director of marketing at Pacific Crest Industries. “He often says, ‘We really can change the world, one cabinet at a time.’”

A staunch advocate of community service, Bell does his part, professionally and
personally, to make a difference in the world. In addition to The Bell Foundation of Hope, which his family created for charitable giving, the company also supports Agros Intl, a non-profit organization that helps rural Central American families break the cycle of poverty through land ownership and agriculture. Along with the financial support it sends to a village in El Salvador, company employee work teams travel to the village to assist families with improvement projects.

“Every year we go down, and we have taken 40 or 50 of our employees down so far as well. They get to experience a third-world country, and it is life changing. When [they] go down there and live in those conditions, even if it is just for a week, and build relationships with the people living in the village, they come back changed people. And it has really permeated our culture,” Bell says.

A man of integrity, both in and out of the workplace. What more can you say?

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