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I had coffee with Joe Tye, the Values Coach last week when he was in Orlando. Joe writes a great newsletter called The Spark Plug and we found we have many of the same thoughts and ideas on culture and how important culture is to an organization.

He really loved my story of my relationship with Philip Crosby who was one of the top three gurus in quality management back in the 1980’s and 90’s. Phil started his own company in 1979 and it was called Philip Crosby Associates. Inc. Under its banner was The Quality College where thousands of managers learned the basics to creating a culture of quality. But what I remember the most was the culture internally within our own organization and it all started with a Breakfast.

Philip made it a point to have breakfast with every new employee quickly after they were hired. He was a very casual man and made you feel quite at ease quickly even though he was the CEO and a world-famous author of “Quality is Free”. He would ask questions to find out about you, your likes, dislikes, family, hobbies, etc. After breakfast had been eaten, you were given a gift, a wooden box with a Cross pen inserted into the box and the word ADEPT engraved next to the pen. Then, he would begin his explanation of what ADEPT stood for:

A – Accurate – he expected you would do your job right the first time

D – Discreet – he expected you would keep the clients’ proprietary information confidential

E – Enthusiastic – he wanted you to come to work and look happy to be there

P – Productive – he hired you for a reason and expected you would produce an output

T – Thrifty – he wanted you to treat the company’s resources as you would treat your own

Joe was amazed that after 25 years I could remember these so easily. Values establish a strong culture and Phil Crosby the CEO made sure he instilled those values into his employees from day one. How clear are the values in your organization? Will your employees remember your organization’s values 25 years from today?

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