Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Man's Reach -- A Transforming Life, 16: Corporate Philosophy

H. B. Fuller Company Board of Directors, 1967

"Our corporate philosophy was built around four priorities in a definite order. Our highest priority, we determined, should be service to the customer. Anything the customer wanted should be seen as an opportunity for us to provide it. Number two was that the company should exist deliberately for the benefit of the people associated in it. I never liked the word employee. It intimated a difference in class within a plant. We always used the word associate. Fuller's third priority was to make money. To survive, you have to make money. To grow, you need money. To conduct research and develop new products, you must have money. The need for money can be desperate at times. But corporations must put the quest for money in its proper place. Our philosophy did not leave out service to the larger community. We put it in fourth place, behind service to customers, our associates, and the bottom line. Community service cannot be paramount to a business, but it ought not to be omitted, as it too often is. Business must concern itself with the larger society—for reasons of self-interest if nothing else."

Image courtesy Elmer L. and Eleanor J. Andersen Family

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