We knew the time would come when we would gather the leadership team of the company together and lay before them the culture that would define who we were, a culture that was bigger than any individual in the company at that time, or would ever be involved at any time in the future. Why is this important?
Let me answer that question with an example. When I walked into UPS for the second time, it was to attend new employee orientation. When the orientation was finished and I was getting ready to start work the following morning, I knew that this was a great organization, and that the values I had been raised on the prior 19 years, would be the environment in which I would continue to live.
That did not come from the words of one person, but from the history that I saw from the previous 65 years UPS had been in existence at that time. It is easy to say that after 65 years, there should be a culture. But, I also noticed that the culture was established at the beginning because it was reflected in the words that had been gathered from the founders, when UPS started as a small delivery company for retail stores in Seattle, WA. That was long before shopping centers, a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.
The culture guided every employee in UPS before they ever reported to their first supervisor. That gave employees the assurance that no manager was above the culture of the organization and that they could be assured that they would be required to work hard, they would be treated fairly and that integrity was above reproach. I continued to see this for the next 35 years no matter where I worked or what part of UPS I was working in.
It did not matter whether I was moving packages in an operating location or supporting the business in one of the staff departments. It did not matter whether I was in the USA or in an international location. The culture was the same.
This needs to be the case in every business. It does not matter if it is a small business or one of the corporate giants. The need remains the same. Because, at the end of the day, it is all about people; whether it is two working out of a garage or 400,000 around the globe.
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