By Lori Llewellyn, Director of Human Resources
Several years ago, a friend of mine was training to become a Customer Service Rep with the local New York Telephone Company. He was being drilled on company policies and hierarchies, and was taught the artful skill of always being in control of the conversation. He relayed to me the “golden rule” of a rep: “NEVER, EVER MISS A COMMITMENT”. In other words, never break your promise. I couldn’t help but think that even in the exacting and regimented culture that the phone company fostered, there was something universally sound in this rule.
Creating and sustaining a corporate culture that revolves around making and then keeping promises both internally and externally is not just good business — it’s crucial. Making a promise and then working towards keeping it honors two of REA’s core values: Commitment to Ownership, and Elevate Those Around You. The simple and genuine act of keeping a promise has the ability to lift and inspire.
Imagine yourself in a rowing competition. You and five of your best buddies jump into a boat and take up the paddles. Isn’t there an implied promise that all six of you will do your best to row? Isn’t there a promise that when the first set of rowers in your boat takes a glimpse back over their shoulders, they will be sure that the others are rowing just as hard? They wouldn’t get very far in the race if the others in the boat broke their promise to row and then avoided their ownership in the outcome. This would be incredibly disappointing to the rest of the team. You certainly wouldn’t be contributing to the betterment of the group or elevating those around you if you were the one who did not hold up his/her promise to row.
On top of rowing with all your strength, it’s essential to remain in tune with the other team members. It’s not just about rowing, but rowing in sync, in rhythm and in stride — each person keeping their promise to the other. A team must push and elevate, commit to and take responsibility for the outcome. No matter where you place, you would still be able to take pride in the effort and your role in it.
A culture of kept promises inspires confidence, elevates the dialogue, and gives all an opportunity to show what they are made of. It also reinforces the fact that no one can function successfully without the support and interaction of a team. The success or failure of that team is dependent upon each member upholding his/her promise to one another.
At REA, every day we strive to cultivate a culture where promises are kept, and where commitment to ownership thrives. Through all of our touch points — both internally in our interactions with each other and externally in our interactions with our clients — we are working hard to be the team in which all rowers are engaged and in sync: one rhythm, one beat. Our lane is clearly defined; we lean on the promise of a team rowing solidly behind us. We find that a culture of kept promises creates a future where everyone wins. We promise to do our best in that pursuit.