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Family, Corporate Cultures Ignore Limitations, Embrace Success

December 5, 2017
Aartrijk-Corporate Culture-Laney

By Lucie Lawrence

Ideals to Live — & Work — By

Today, December 5, is my oldest daughter’s birthday. It’s hard for me to believe that Laney is 14. But it’s even harder to grasp just how far she’s come. About 13 years ago, we were told she has an extremely rare chromosomal disorder and would likely never walk, talk, read, feed herself or be independent. While she has not met all of these milestones — she is definitely accomplishing some of them.

One of the main reasons for this is that while those around us — including doctors, teachers and therapists — put limitations on her, we never did. We couldn’t stop people from talking about her many limitations, but we could stop listening. Which is exactly what we did. Instead, we have always been focused on embracing her very small successes and treasuring each accomplishment.

Recently, I came across Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work for in 2017. Quicken Loans is No. 10 on this list. I was immediately drawn to the mortgage lending company’s corporate culture — or their “secret sauce” — that makes the company such a great place to work.

What captivated me were the similarities between my own family life and what the company believes is vital: creating a culture of creativity, teamwork, enthusiasm and passion. Here are some of their ISMs — or ideals to live by — that I agree with wholeheartedly:

“The inches we need are everywhere around us. If a company does one big thing better than their competition, it becomes fairly easy for their competition to level the playing field: They can just imitate that one thing. But, if a company does thousands of little things better than anyone else, they become nearly impossible to imitate. We call those thousands of little things “inches.” We’d never be able to foresee all the things that should be noticed or improved. Instead, we drive a culture that motivates our team members to find the inches we need all around us. We are all empowered to find the opportunities to make an impact everywhere; one inch at a time, these inches all add up to greatness.

“Obsessed with finding a better way. Our never-ending mission is to find a better way for every process and everything we touch. If it’s good, let’s make it great. If it’s great, let’s take it to an even higher level. Don’t settle for less. In fact, don’t settle at all. Finding a better way is not something we do on the side or when we get the time. Rather, it’s a key priority for every one of our team members. It’s our passion … our way of living … our obsession. We don’t just work IN our business — we work ON our business.

“Ignore the noise. We’ve found it’s not always skill and long hours that lead to greatness. It’s also the ability to ignore the noise. Noise could be from naysayers, something going wrong, sun in your eyes, ball took a bad bounce, dog ate your homework, someone cut you off on the way to work, etc. A lot of things that seem serious at first glance turn out to be noise. Will you allow it to keep you from winning? The noise may fluctuate in volume, but your determination to press on in spite of it (ignore it!) will make all the difference to you and our Family of Companies.

“We are the “they.” There is no “they.” We are the “they.” One team. United. All in the mission together. No corporate barriers. No boundaries. Just open doors, open minds and an open culture rooted in trust. The leadership within our Family of Companies trusts you. We trust you to make decisions, and, if you make an honest mistake, it’s OK! We trust you will learn from your mistakes. It’s a foreign concept to most organizations, but for us, it’s crystal clear.

”You have to take the roast out of the oven. Perfection is not the goal when it’s time to make a decision. Focus instead on constant improvement and innovation. Over-analyzing can kill an idea and make you miss an opportunity. Don’t fear failure. If our environment did not tolerate failure, then innovation would die, creativity would die, and eventually, so would our business …  Always make new mistakes. Make decisions. And, when you believe that roast is pretty much done, pull it out of the oven. 

“You’ll see it when you believe it. Nothing significant in this world has ever happened without someone believing in it first. It’s only the passive observers of life who say, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” We take the opposite approach, and lead with our hearts and minds. We know the truth: If we truly believe in something, we can — and will — affect the outcome. If we believe in ourselves first, we dramatically increase our odds of success. If we believe it can happen, then it will.”

Just imagine what our country would be like if every organization embraced this type of culture. We’d live in a world where people valued teamwork, trust, compassion, perseverance, kindness and camaraderie. We’d live in a world where everyone understood what it means to be human.

Cheers to that! And happy 14th birthday, sweet Laney!

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