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How do you know when you are working for a good company?

If you are reading this, it's likely you are working for a company or you are looking to work for a company. Either way, most of us prefer to spend our time surrounded by good people at good companies.

I was meeting with a friend and she asked me the following question, how do you know you are working for a good company? At that very moment I knew I had something to write about.

For the purpose of this article, let's say a company is a restaurant and its employees are patrons. Now let's go and have some fun!

So, how do you know when you are working for a good company? How do you know when you are not? What should you do if you are and what should you do if you are not? It goes without saying; the word "good" means different things for different people. To make things easy and so we are on the same page, let us define a "good" company as a place you: look forward to going every day, feel appreciated, are happy and/or safe, earn good pay with the opportunity to earn more, connect with good people, contribute, grow and make a difference either for yourself or others. Of course, there may be others and for me this covers most, if not all the ingredients for a "good" company.

You may be wondering what about leadership? Yes, leadership. Most often than not leadership is responsible to prepare, deliver and maintain the ingredients for its recipe. The good leaders have most of the ingredients, the great leaders have them all and the greatest leaders find ways to create and add more. It's not easy and it's not difficult. Having the right ingredients is a reflection of leadership’s beliefs and commitments to its current and future business. It is leadership’s responsibility to work on the company not for the company. What does this mean? It means it is leadership’s responsibility to identify, order, prepare, and manage its ingredients every day. It also means it stands behind its ingredients by asking the difficult questions; do I have all the ingredients needed to make my patrons happy and wanting more? How do I know if I am using the best ingredients? What if I am not? Am I willing to make changes? There are more questions and you may be wondering what happens when the owner or leadership is not motivated or committed to using good ingredients? If true, maybe it's time to eat at a different restaurant or it’s possible you may need to meet with leadership and suggest changing or adding new ingredients. Keep in mind; many owners/leaders are convinced they use fresh ingredients even when the label shows it has expired. Be careful, otherwise you may be asked to leave the restaurant and not come back.

So what is the best way to know if the ingredients in your recipe are good? The simple and most effective answer is to ask your patrons. Yes, that's right, who better to ask than those who consume or serve your product? Many times ingredient makers swear they are using good ingredients and at the same time their patrons are leaving with belly aches. In this case, who do you think knows best? Good leadership understands that if they want to be successful they must listen to their patrons and those who serve them.

One of the most popular topics in leadership is how do you acquire and retain good talent? The answer is simple, use good ingredients. Talent will stay and talent will find you if your recipe uses good ingredients. In our example, a company being a restaurant, it's likely in order to be successful you will have an inviting atmosphere and serve fresh and high quality food with good service. There is no magic, only motivation and commitment. The question remains, how committed and motivated is the restaurant leadership to using good ingredients and are they open to feedback. It is and can be that simple.

Think about the top rated companies to work for: Google, Sales Force, Apple, GE and Eli Lilly. If you were to grab their box and read the ingredients, what do think you will find? What do you think their patrons (customers) will say about their experience and what do you think the servers (employees) will say? In most cases the magic isn't the product or service; it's what you make of the product or service and the experience you create around the product or service. The magic is the motivation and commitment. It's the difference which makes the difference. Let’s say you have a good product or service and you use good ingredients, what do you think is going to happen? You know, and so do I, success is not a matter of “if”; it's more like “get out of the way this thing is going to go”!

The most successful companies are the ones who are motivated and committed to having only the best ingredients. Their leadership spends most of their time making sure the ingredients are of the highest quality, fresh, and maintained each and every day. What happens when you cook a meal with the best ingredients? What do you think the food will taste like? What do you think your customers will say about their experience? What happens when people talk to other people about their experience? I am known to bet from time to time and I betcha a nickel the company will grow, profits will soar, and talent will find you.

If you want to work for a great company keep it simple, read the ingredients on the back of the box. If you like what you read, sit down, order and find a way to contribute. If you don't like what you see, keep looking until you do. There are many companies out there using great ingredients. You just have to spend the time and notice what ingredients they are using.

If you are a company, use good ingredients. If you are an employee, contribute to the ingredients. Life is short so be good!


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