Our Culture Series explores the guiding principles reflected in our company.
I recently read an interview of Jim Kerr. He is the 58 year old lead singer of Simple Minds — aka The Breakfast Club theme song “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”. The purpose of the interview was to showcase the Scottish rock band’s nineteenth album since 1977, but it was the last few paragraphs that stuck with me.
The interviewer asked Kerr how Simple Minds still has so much stamina after 38 years of playing together and 19 albums (wow!). Here’s what he said:
“There are some songs that we never rehearse …. We have played them so much that the effect of them has worn off on us. But it never feels like that when you play in front of an audience. For some reason when you hear it through the audience’s ears, you experience it through them. You never want to give some blasé rendition. You want to give it your best every time you play it.”
Kerr goes on to say they keep making albums because it’s “what we want to do with our lives … I want to be a better singer. I still want to write better songs. I want to make better albums. I want to improve. That’s plenty of motivation right there …. And I think that having that attitude has been a big part of our backbone.”
Isn’t Kerr describing the very essence of our core value Impact?
- Give it your best every time.
Whether we are writing code, selling product, or providing customer service — we should be making our customers (our audience) feel special every time, with every touch and every communication.
- Never stop improving.
- Sell better, faster.
- Develop better software, more efficiently.
- Lead your teams with passion, accountability, and empathy.
- Solve customer issues in a way that makes them smile.
- Spend time practicing new ways of doing things and discovering the cutting edge.
- Feed your brain so that you are constantly challenging yourself and redefining what is relevant.
Practically speaking, taking exceptional care of our customers and having a very high expectation of ourselves is woven in and out of the Kopis core values fabric of Lead, Impact, Respect, and Simplify.
Any of you who have worked with Andy for any significant amount of time know that he hires people with the expectation that they are self-motivated, smart, and hungry. He expects us all to be driven, to have a predisposition for high quality work, and to require minimal oversight.
This expectation is part of the foundation we enjoy building on, every day. This expectation (of being smart, self-motivated, and hungry) gives us the freedom to rise above and find ways to be creatively exceptional.
Remember what Kerr said, “For some reason when you hear it through the audience’s ears, you experience it through them” (double-wow!).
Is that happening for us? Are we hearing through our customer’s ears and seeing through our customer’s eyes? Are we feeling what they feel or just sitting in our comfortable silo?
Are we ensuring that we make a positive impact on their business by truly listening and giving them the respect of walking in their shoes? Are we endeavoring to deliver not only what they want and what they need but what is beyond their expectations?
So how does someone like Jim Kerr make a living doing the same thing, every day for 38 years and somehow maintain his fire to continue doing exceptional work (and doing it better and better) — hint: the answer is the same for us too:
Love what you do. Be part of a well-qualified, loyal team. See through your customers eyes and walk in their shoes. And never stop thirsting for improvement, personally and professionally.
General Manager, Vigilix