The core of success

When Jason Beans asked
a trusted friend to manage the front-line staff at Rising Medical Solutions Inc.,
he had no idea that her highly
organized approach would stifle
his company’s growth.

Instead of giving employees
room to perform, she suffocated
the medical financial solutions
organization with regulations
that created fear and anxiety.

“She was going to put cameras in to watch and make sure
that everyone was working,”
Beans says.

It was then that the founder,
president and CEO realized that
he had to let her go and develop
a set of core values that would
guide his work force toward
growth. Following those values,
Beans and his 103 employees
have pushed the company to
2007 revenue of $9.4 million, up
from $6.4 million the previous

Smart Business spoke with
Beans about how to identify
and implement values that reinforce your vision and inspire

Q. How do you create core

I said [to my management
team], ‘Look around, and
name the person that, to you,
describes Rising.’ They threw
some names on the board.

Then I said, ‘Give me every
adjective to describe them of
why you think they are the
ideal employee.’ They start
naming those, and you get a
huge list of things.

Then, I pulled up our marketing materials. ‘What recurring
themes are we branding to our
clients? We’ve got to deliver
what we promise.’ I wanted to make sure that what we’re saying to our clients was exactly
what we’re hiring for and delivering on.

The final exercise that I’ve
found the most enlightening, I
said, ‘Name a time that I blew
up or I reacted strongly. It might
have been something really
minor that you didn’t know why
I made a big deal. It may have
been some minor thing that
may have even made us money,
and I was ticked off or annoyed.’

I made them write up those
situations. Literally, a pattern
came out of it. These are
the things that are critical
to the executive. Somewhere in that minor blow
up is a core value.

It has nothing to do
with making money or
losing money. You have
to be able to follow a
core value even if it loses
you money.

Q. What should a leader
remember when implementing core values?

Most CEOs are intelligent people, and they hate
repetition. They just think
that everyone else thinks
the way they do. You just
have to repeat yourself ad

Every single all-hands-on
meeting, I start with the core
values. Every single managers
meeting, I start with the core
values. We’ve posted them at
everyone’s desk.

All the conversations that
you’ve had about it have only
been with a small group of your
core people. They haven’t been
with your front-line staff. They
need to go through the same initiation process where their
mind instantly fires and knows
how to behave.

You’re going to have to repeat
yourself to the point where you
almost — I consider myself a
caricature at this point. It’s comical. It’s not high-brain activity.
The high-brain activity was
coming up with the core values.