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The Power in Recognizing Employees for Living Your Company’s Values

The following is a post I recently shared on our Company’s Facebook page – which has nearly 1,500 followers – to call out and show my appreciation for an employee who, by staying true to our Core Values and 3 Uniques at a time when he could have chosen not to, built more good will with a customer than I could ever assign a dollar value.  What really struck me is that I wrote this more out of a desire to publicly thank an employee…what I got, however, was a deepening of the commitment and passion from everybody in the organization that I could never have imagined.  I would encourage you to never miss an opportunity to show appreciation for someone who deserves it.

Recognizing One Of Our Rock Stars…

In the past year, we have been on a journey through the EOS Process and have been putting a tremendous amount of effort into creating alignment and clarity throughout the entire company around our Core Focus and Core Values. Yesterday, one of our employees did something that encapsulated 3 of our 4 Core Values and all of our 3 Uniques in one action. I have to share the story as it makes me very proud to be able to lead such an amazing team of people.
As we approach the summer holidays, things tend to get quiet, and yesterday started out no differently. Our Sales Manager was on vacation and the remaining members of the Leadership Team were all at an offsite meeting – ironically on EOS. The warehouse team was packing a few orders for shipment later this month and planning on leaving at 3:30 to enjoy what was a beautiful afternoon.
In the middle of the day, an urgent email came in from a customer needing a small shipment rushed out in order for them to make a deadline on a small, high end order with a very quick turn-around time. Unfortunately, the customer meant to order one thing, and in a rush accidentally indicated in their email that they wanted something else.
Our team took the email, prepared the veneer accordingly, arranged a truck for next-day delivery, and the shipment went out the door in less than 2 hours – exactly as the customer ordered…and not at all what the customer wanted.
Within about an hour all of the paperwork and invoice had been emailed to the customer and we received a call back from them, in quite a panic, that we sent the wrong item. Valérie took the call, communicated with Elizabeth about the issue, and they immediately went to work trying to resolve the situation. Rather than focus on the error in the email from the customer and the fact that this would now turn into a very long day, they went right into Rock-Star Mode, worked with Tony Tolliver, our Warehouse Supervisor, to sort things out, the carrier was contacted and turned around, and the correct material was prepared as the guys waited on the truck to return (which at that point was already over an hour away).
Tony stayed quite late and when the truck got back to NAV, he got it unloaded, reloaded, and back on its way to the customer – with the right material, and still to arrive the next day so that the customer suffered no harm in meeting their deadline with their customer.
What makes me so proud of everybody, and especially of Tony, is that in the absence of every key decision maker in the company, he stepped up, took the lead, stayed true to our Core Values and 3 Uniques, got the job done, and provided a customer with a very positive experience. In the way he handled himself yesterday, Tony lived out the following 3 of our 4 Core Values:
1 – PEOPLE who are DEDICATED, PERFORMANCE DRIVEN, and who TAKE GREAT PRIDE in what they do
2 – An INTENTIONAL APPROACH to creating a CONSISTENTLY SUPERIOR PRODUCT and EXPERIENCE
3 – A CULTURE OF APPRECIATION for our CUSTOMERS, EMPLOYEES, VENDORS and SHAREHOLDERS
He also exhibited all 3 of our 3 Uniques:
1 – We take Great Pride in our Product and Service – Consistency, Quality, Accountability and Integrity mean the world to us.  We do what we say.
2 – We are Personally Involved in our Customer’s Success – We are regularly present physically to “walk” with our customers in order to gain a deep understanding of their needs and opportunities.  We Follow Up, we Follow Through, and we Listen.
3 – We have a Fun and Friendly “Family” Culture – We are Accommodating and desire a Never-Ending Satisfying Experience for our Customers.  We value Quality of Relationships with our Customers over the Number of Customers, and we want to enjoy some laughs together along the way.

Thank you Tony, and thank you to everybody at North American Veneer Inc. for your focus, your desire and your passion toward achieving our mission of building a Great Company with Great People and Great Results.