Map out the why

For a company to have sustainable success, culture matters. A recent Gallup study showed that high-quality job candidates are attracted to companies that align with who they are and encourage them to do what they do best. Meanwhile, lower-quality candidates are more likely to accept a position because they “need a job,” which might indicate a lack of commitment to their personal or company success.

That’s just one of many reasons we focus so intently on culture at Safelite. Our “People Powered, Customer Driven” strategy has been very effective at defining what we do.

Recently, however, we set out to ask ourselves why we do it. Defining why we do what we do is the difference between good and great. Why isn’t about money or profit — those are results.

For us, it’s about the greater purpose behind what we do. For our people, it’s why they get up in the morning, it’s what inspires us to achieve beyond the task at hand and provides us with a sense of fulfillment.

It’s this alignment of purpose that we hope will attract and retain great talent and differentiate us in our customers’ eyes.

Earlier this year, we articulated our purpose — clarifying with our people what it is and explaining how they bring it to life through our Safelite Spirit. We even put it in writing: “At Safelite, our purpose is to make a difference and bring unexpected happiness to people’s everyday lives.”

Does your company know its purpose? Here are some things to consider if you’re mapping out your own reasons why:

Words matter

We spent more than a year writing and rewriting our purpose because we felt each and every word had be just right in order to connect with our people. Here’s what I mean:

  • Make a difference means we want to contribute, both in small ways through personal interaction with each other and with our customers, and in big ways through our environment, civic and philanthropic programs.
  • Bring relates to our technology and mobile service — no one else does that in our industry.
  • Unexpected happiness is about the emotion we create by providing service so great it’s memorable.
  • To people’s everyday lives. Let’s face it — we do a great job yet we’re humble. We want to serve our customers by doing high-quality work so they can get back to living their everyday lives.

Visuals help

Using a visual helps people to understand the big picture. We created a graphic when we introduced our purpose to illustrate how it fits in with our existing cultural elements.

A picture is worth a thousand words and helps our people better understand our business and their important role in it. After all, it’s easier to get there when you know where you’re going, right? The visual aid includes elements such as:

  • Why we exist. (Our purpose.)
  • Where we’re going. (Our vision.)
  • What we believe as an organization. (Our core values.)
  • How we’ll achieve. (Our strategy.)

Stay consistent

Professional communicators know that just when you’re sick of saying something is the time others start getting it. Our purpose isn’t necessarily a new concept. It’s consistent with who we are — it’s not a “180” — and we plan to stay the course.

Consistent messaging over time is important to creating the culture you wish to have.


So, after reflecting, can you articulate why your company exists?


Tom Feeney is President and CEO of Safelite AutoGlass®. In his 28 years with Safelite Group Inc., Tom has been instrumental in establishing Safelite AutoGlass® as a nationally well-known brand. Since 2008, he has set the course for doubling Safelite’s business through two core principles: People Powered and Customer Driven.