Recently I was paying for my purchase at a specialty retailer and the cashier had a tag on her company apron that read: “ASK ME WHY I LOVE MY JOB?” In the time it took to complete my single item transaction, I discovered all I needed to know about her “WHY”.
I knew her company, The Container Store, is consistently on Best Places lists, so I already had an awareness of their culture. Also, I’ve never forgotten, twenty-plus years ago, writing to Kip Tindell, the founder and CEO, about his interest in outside unsolicited ideas for “containers”. ( I actually had made a prototype Matchbox car case from a real automotive battery. ) His reply was something like, “of course, were always interested in novel containers for our customers”. I failed to follow through but I never forgot the courtesy of his thoughtful response.
So I asked my cashier, Suzie, about Kip Tindell and she was effusive about the fact that he knew her by name, her husband and the name of their dog. She gave a detailed account of an occasion when Kip visited the store and spoke to her on that personal a level. Afraid of detaining her next customer, I left the store, got all the way to my car, only to return to her register eager to learn between your customers more about “WHY”. I wish that I could have recorded her reasons, but I hurriedly wrote down her words about the company and the leadership: straight … truthful … integrity … treat customers right … Conscious Capitalism … “human”. She took great satisfaction in telling me that customers say to her “I love this store”.
Suzie, it turns out his been an employee for 27 years! And she loves her job because she loves the company’s culture and its relevance to human desires. There is an expression that I like “whatever you want from someone, give it first”. That principle is active there … sustained by Mr. Tindell and his team.
I rediscovered in my possession a reduced size template company publication sent to me by a friend that appears to have been bound into document or publication. The pamphlet documents WHAT WE STAND FOR. They have a blog by that name that carries stories of stakeholders. In addition, they have documented seven Foundation Principles. To me, that’s their true North.
Here’s a couple of expression from Mr. Tindell:
- “Our goal and operating in this conscious ways to create a stunningly sustainable, beloved and profitable company … a company that’s aware of its WAKE – our impact on everything around us so that the lives of everyone we touch are enriched and brimming with opportunity.”
- “You can do the right thing in business- you can make decisions based on love and be profitable.”
- “Business is not a zero-sum game – no one has to lose for others to win.”
The Container Store loves their employees ( first ) by communicating Kip Tindell’s values and beliefs – his True North! His actions give everyone’s work meaning … and meaningful work inspires daily customer care!