Why Corporate Values Matter
Compassion. Dignity. Respect.
Those are the three words that have been going through my mind since I witnessed a beautiful exchange at Trader Joe’s. The man in front of me in line was alone, in a wheelchair, clearly down on his luck, unkempt, and seemingly fragile. The checker, German, greeted this man cheerfully and respectfully. “Hello Mr. X, may I get your groceries for you today?” German knew his customer. The man beamed, and said that would be nice. I didn’t quite understand what was happening until German took his wallet out of his pocket and extracted a $20 bill, then paid for the man’s groceries.
Next, he engaged the man in a short conversation about his knowledge of healthy food, and turned to me and said, “You know, Mr. X knows a lot about healthy eating, and I learn a lot from him.” The man beamed again; he couldn’t have been more proud. German made Mr. X feel seen and listened to. Wow. Seriously, I almost cried.
Smart companies hire smart, compassionate individuals and then empower them to do what’s right. “People decisions” are some of your most important decisions. German’s actions cannot be proscribed in an employee handbook. But employees can be empowered and encouraged to act, especially when they know that their personal values align with company values. Companies will succeed when their employees feel empowered to act, both personally and in the corporate sphere. Connecting with your conscience can and should lead to greater corporate success, and a greater distribution of the good inside all of us.