I’ve been collecting examples of companies’ beliefs, values, guiding principles and the like. All are meant to serve as a sherpa-like guide to the organization’s culture, decisions and behavior. The ones I like best go beyond the usual blah blah — quality, integrity, customer-first — and connect with people in their guts and in their heads. Here are The Container Store’s six principles:
- Fill the other guy’s basket to the brim. Making money then becomes an easy proposition
- Man in the desert*
- One great person equals three good people
- Intuition does not come to an unprepared mind
- The best selection anywhere plus the best service plus the best or equal to the best price in our market area
- Air of excitement
*Container Store employees are told the story of a man crawling through the desert gasping for a drink of water. He finds an oasis, where an ordinary retailer gives him water. If it had been a Container Store retailer, employees are told, he would have been told “Here’s some water. Do you also want something to eat? And I see from your wedding ring that you are married. How about we call your family and let them know you’re here.” The principle is that you’re cheating the customer if you are not offering them the opportunity to buy more.