Letter from the President: What I Meant to Say

November 2014

I just returned from our annual management meeting in North Carolina. As I reflect on all that was shared and said during our three days together, I am reminded of what a special place this is to work. It would be hard to imagine any company our size, in our industry, with the unique skills and gifts to provide excellent service and exceptional care. I felt compelled to go off the published agenda for our meeting and simply share a few nuggets of core values that make FSE such a special place. Now that the meeting is over, it seems only natural to pass on what I shared to the rest of you who, just like our management team, bring your "A" game to work each day, adding great value to our clients' missions.

I chose six things that really stand out in my mind as being unique to us and the way we conduct our business affairs. Here they are with brief comments.

If someone is willing to pay us to serve them – let's give them the best we have to offer.
I believe that we consider this from the first time we decide to respond to a solicitation for services. This value is put into every proposal we prepare. We plan on delivering world-class facility maintenance service with exceptional care. We pride ourselves having in talented leadership and highly qualified technicians, along with sub-contract relationships that are proven. Our goal is to excel, not just get by.

Quality and excellence are best maintained by a commitment to continually improve.
We are always looking for greater value, higher standards and improved methods. When these are found, they are disseminated throughout the organization. We are constantly looking for ways to train and gain expertise in our core competencies. We share about new tools, new equipment, and more efficient processes among all of our people. We encourage and pay for frequnt continuous training. We have invested in ISO certifications and professional licenses to raise our level of service.

Good relationships bring more success to our business than the most expensive marketing schemes.
Relationships matter, whether they are with our clients, our vendors, our support team or each other. We take the time to build relationships that last. That is why we stay in contracts for long periods of time. We pour honesty, truth and priority into our relationships. People can depend on us. While it is powerful to craft a story of success that we can tell about ourselves, if our success story is told by others- a dynamic of corroboration is set in motion that can move potential clients toward what we offer in powerful ways.

Investing in generosity brings better dividends than the most astute financial planning.
Generosity is contagious when practiced in an intentional manner. Generosity develops good will. When meeting the needs of our clients and employees is a higher priority than the bottom line, we seldom catch a glimpse of the bottom of our barrel. If we invest time, talent and treasure in worthwhile causes, we change the world around us and forget about wringing our hands over nickels and dimes.

People are always the organizations most valuable assets.
We can have the best tools, the best practices and the best equipment, but people are required to make them work. We can produce fancy TV ads, billboards and logos, but people are required to keep a good reputation. We plan to make our people our greatest investment and our greatest priority. People are the only ones who can perform with exceptional care.

Every employee is significant whether we work in the board room, the mailroom, or the restroom and our contributions can accrue to the benefit of our common cause – Excellent Service with Exceptional Care.
Excellence can be achieved and have great effect at every level of our business. Every act of service matters. Few people think about whether the chiller is running efficiently when the restroom plumbing is backed up. 98 percent of our clients in the facilities where we work don't know my name, but they know who empties their trash can or who replaces their burned-out light bulbs. At any given time, it is possible for our least paid employee to have the greatest impact on our good name.

There, you have my list. Keep up the great work. Let's work to improve and to pass on this legacy of excellent service and exceptional care. I will leave you with a final thought for now.

The true measure of a significant life is not what you get when you get there, but rather what you leave when you leave there.

Thanks for your dedicated excellent service. Keep on passing it on!

Ken Dickerson