Guiding Principles/Company Culture
The intent of this document is to clarify and consolidate the various principles that provide us the ‘compass’ to successfully navigate the shifting business terrain to long term success.
We could also call these principles ‘core values’. The thinking here is when we have our values clearly stated for all to see, life becomes much, much simpler.
The ways the guiding principles can serve us:
- Communicating with our customers
- Communicating with one another in the business
- Communicating with our team
- Communicating with vendors
By transparently stating our core values to the world, our intent is to make clear the values from which we function and make decisions. We believe that doing so will provide a much more fun work environment, a dynamic, inspired brand experience, and an adaptive, nimble business strategy.
Creating win/win/win relationships:
We have said many times that if we are experts at anything, we are experts at hunting win/win/win relationships. We use the word ‘hunt’ here intentionally.
We believe that if we go into any circumstance (like customer service situation, company meeting, business negotiation, etc), IF we go into that circumstance truly hunting a possible outcome that is beneficial for all involved, we are much more likely to be successful at finding a win/win/win outcome.
We inspire all to shift our frame of reality to entertain the possibility of a win/win outcome.
Truly, win/lose outcomes are born out of the belief in a lie that there isn’t enough. We all learn this lie as children when we had to share something we didn’t want to share or experienced lack. We formed the belief that the world doesn’t have enough of whatever we want. However, the belief, the story isn’t true.
Once we entertain the possibility of an outcome where everyone benefits, we can see that we can add an infinite number of ‘wins’ onto the formula.
For example, we’ve all heard of the win/win situation where two people come to an agreement that benefits both parties. Is it possible then to have a win/win/win situation where 3 people are engaged together and all benefit? Of course! It’s just a matter of conditioning our awareness to ‘hunt’ this type of outcome. Then, clearly it’s possible to have a win/win/win/win outcome as well, yes? You get the picture. :) The game is to keep our minds focused on the right questions and not let ourselves engage in pondering solutions where someone loses.
Examples of win/win/win in business:
We love to create win/win/win situations. We do it all the time.
For example, our main tool for marketing is through affiliate relationships. We connect with others who have a following on the internet and invite them to try our products. If they find benefit from our products (which as you can imagine, most do) we invite them to become OraWellness affiliates. They share about our products with their readers/viewers.
So, how is this a win/win/win relationship?
Well, the people who need help with their oral health are going to hear about the solutions we offer from the blogger who is an OraWellness affiliate. So, the end customer benefits because they get introduced to solutions that help them along their path to optimal oral health.
The blogger/affiliate benefits in two ways. They benefit because they find fulfillment knowing that they have helped those who needed help with their oral health find a solution. The affiliate also benefits because they are compensated for any sales that the customer makes on OraWellness.com which allows the blogger to continue their work.
Third, we benefit because we get access to someone who otherwise would not have found us so we could help them. We also benefit because making sales allows us to continue our work to help more people.
Another example of a win/win/win relationship is the current ‘informational summit’ model.
The viewer gains access to awesome information that helps them easily have access to the information they need. The affiliate benefits by gaining fulfillment knowing that they have helped the viewer find the quality information. The affiliate also is compensated for helping expand the reach of the host company. And finally, the host company also benefits by knowing that they have been able to help more people with the expanded reach and by making sales, which provides the funds necessary to go do more good work.
The Energy Circle
Imagine a circle with a vertical line down the middle that divides the circle into two halves. Now imagine that one side of the circle is dark. We will call this side ‘the dark side’ or ‘the back side’ of the energy circle. The other half of the circle is light and we call it ‘the light side’ or ‘the forward side’ of the energy circle. (If you are familiar with the idea of yin/yang from asian traditions, this image serves well.)
Everything we do, everything we say, any actions we take can be grouped either on the back side of the energy circle or the forward side.
We aspire to keep our actions, the words that we speak, even the thoughts we entertain in the quietude of our own minds on the forward side of the energy circle. We can apply this concept individually, relationally, in our company culture, even how our company expresses itself to the world.
By now each of us probably has a pretty good idea where we are coming from with this core value. However, since we are looking to really place this guiding principle in the heart of the company, it deserves more expression.
Let’s take a look at a handful of examples how we can choose to function on the backside or forward side of the energy circle.
A few years ago, we wrote a blog post slamming kombucha and got a bunch of backlash from the article. In hindsight, we’re really grateful that this break from our commitment to staying on the forward side didn’t destroy the business. The article was a very important lesson for us however. When expressing anything from the company, do so on the forward side. You see, we didn’t offer any solution after railing on kombucha.
In our second article on kombucha, we simply stated a problem we identified with the drink (it’s relative acidity) and offered a solution how to work around the problem if a person chose to consume kombucha. See the difference there? Stating a problem is fine so long as we focus on providing a solution. It’s being solution oriented...
Here’s another example. Let’s face it, with fluoride, mercury, root canals, etc, etc, dentistry and the conventional oral hygiene product market leave a lot to be spoken about on the backside of the energy circle. If we as a company wanted to, we could lash out and bad mouth the ingredients that commercial paste companies use in their oral hygiene products as well as how many protocols used in conventional dentistry leave much to be desired. While the marketing may be successful to create greater short term sales, our commitment to the forward side of the energy circle keeps us firmly planted on speaking about solutions each of us can apply to navigate this path to optimal oral health.
So, rather than bad mouthing the ingredients in oral health products produced by other companies, we teach people how to determine on their own (empowerment) whether an oral hygiene product is made from the mindset of taking the health of the whole body into consideration.
As you look at marketing headlines on news or blog articles, you’ll recognize that most marketing is on the back side of the energy circle. Why? Because fear and pain sell more than solutions. However, we find that staying firmly rooted on the forward side of the energy circle with our marketing and messaging we are able to offer hope and solutions rather than induce fear based buying. The larger benefit is by ‘speaking words of peace’ we steer clean of any internet bad mouthing that is so common. Steering around these high drama soap opera circumstances keeps us clean from muddying our brand and reputation. We aspire to be big, choose the high road, and the cool thing is we feel much happier as a result too! :)
Packed with Aloha :)
We live in Hawaii and our customers know that. Aloha culture is alive and well here. Aloha culture is an appreciated culture all over the world. Since we interact with our customers from over 50 countries (and growing) on a daily basis, we spread aloha at every opportunity. We greet them with the word Aloha before their name in every email. We also sign out Aloha.
Aloha is a way of life. It is how we ‘do’ life. In terms of our work culture we share Aloha every time we answer a question on the phone, or help someone having trouble ordering we approach the interaction with the spirit of Aloha. When someone writes in with a testimonial or with a complaint, we respond with aloha. Aloha to us, means respect, consideration and offering a helping hand. It is a way to represent our understanding that we are all on the same boat and we choose to interact with kindness and consideration.
I recently read the book, Delivering Happiness, written by Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos. Throughout the book, I was reminded how we have always made sending some love with every product package. While how we have packed orders with Aloha has morphed over the years, the core theme remains strong, send some love with every package.
Yes, the world needs help with our oral health. However, there are plenty of products on the market to help with that. What sets OraWellness apart from others in this industry is not only do our products make positive impacts on people’s lives, but in every package we send, every exchange we have, we bring love, hearts and smiles into each interaction. More than quality oral health products, the world needs hope. We need people who are willing to firmly commit themselves to ‘the forward side of the energy circle’, focus on solutions, and unwaveringly offer support. The reason we always sign out with ‘Holler with any questions, we’re here to help’ is because we really are!
Zappos talks about WOWing their customers, vendors, etc. We really appreciate this core value and echo it with a guiding principle that we have kept close to our hearts since the beginning. We look to consistently exceed customer’s expectations at every chance we get. This is why customer care is truly the foundation of our company culture. If we are to flourish and thrive in the years to come, each of us must keep clear sight of always looking to exceed customer’s expectations.
Examples of this can vary widely. For years, we have given a free specially designed toothbrush with almost every order. Our whole business model of providing quality educational content for free falls into this same core value. Give first. This core value runs closely with packed with Aloha as our Love is truly the only infinite asset we have, everything else is limited and quantifiable. By giving unconditionally of our love, we bring unknown blessings into our lives by design.
The ‘Trust/Drama’ teeter-totter
We have learned that there is an inverse relationship between trust and drama. For example, when the trust is low in any given relationship, the drama must be high. On contrast, when the trust is high, the drama will be low. We strive to always foster high trust relationships which will naturally result in low drama in the given relationship.
The most fundamental and elegant words I’ve ever read on marketing came out of a book titled, Crush It, written by Gary Vaynerchuck. The chapter title stated something like, “All you need to know for marketing”. Then the page turned and the next page only had one word on the page. It said, “Care.” That was the whole chapter! :)
I think this best describes how we approach marketing. So long as we are really centered on helping others to the best of our ability, everything else takes care of itself.
So that’s what we have so far regarding clearly delineating our core values/guiding principles of the company (and our lives really).
When we put together really caring, providing quality information to really help, staying on the forward side of the energy circle, hunting the win/win situation, exceeding customer’s expectations, and ‘packing’ it all with Aloha, we set ourselves in the ideal frame of mind/awareness to feel fulfilled having a lot of fun helping others while growing a company to greater profits to do more good for all.