Value 1B: Closing the Loop – The Next Step Toward Developing Trust
By Ben Peterson, CEO
The Next Step Toward Developing Trust
At Blue Raven Solar, we have three values:
- Develop a High-Trust Culture
- Be Efficient
- Continuously Improve.
These values help us maintain and stay close to achieving our mission statement, which is to make homeowners’ lives better. Each of these values is accompanied by four statements capturing what living this value means to us. We are constantly working hard to bring solar energy to customers throughout the nation and all our values work together to help us achieve this goal.
Today, we will cover Value 1B:
Close the loop – report back to each other.
We have all heard the philosophical thought experiment, “if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Translated, this means: can something exist without being perceived by consciousness, whether on our own or someone else’s?
In each of the meetings I have with new employees about the mission and values, I ask our newest hires why it matters if we tell someone when we complete a task. In every meeting, without fail, they struggle to articulate why it matters so much. And yet, all of us have had the experience of following up on something only to find out our request had indeed been completed — but we were never notified. “Why didn’t you tell me?” We observe that the perceived “open request” made a withdrawal from the trust bank account, sometimes subconsciously, even when the commitment was kept.
Connection to Keeping Commitments
We believe closing the loop is just as important as keeping the commitment in the first place. In some cases, it is more important – especially if more context is required. We also believe closing the loop does not always have to be a human interaction; systems can close loops, too, which can save time and make the project more efficient. Closed they must be. If not, those individuals we are working with are left in the dark, not continuing their process forward, and not notified about the current state of a situation or project. This can also be detrimental to our second value, Be Efficient. As mentioned before: all our values tie together, so we must maintain them all as consistently as possible.
Creating Trust by Providing Updates throughout the Process
Closing the loop is not just done within our organization, it is especially emphasized when we are working with customers, vendors, and other partners. We always want to update those we are working with, so they know exactly where we are at with each step of the process. Homeowners love this sub-value, because they are placing a great deal of trust in us, and we do not want them to feel like they are not updated about their solar journey. After all, if the shoe were on the other foot and they did not tell us about their updates, we might not get to work with them, and if they did not tell us, we would have wasted time, money, and resources. We do our best to never put homeowners in this situation.
Regardless of whether we hear it, trees do, in fact, make a sound when they fall, we just have no reason to comprehend it unless we are part of the experience. Similarly, unless we close the loop on our tasks, updates, and process steps, no one we are working with has any reason to continue forward or work to complete a project. We need to be the ones who hear the tree so we can bring news to those who might be interested.
Beyond the Office
For me personally, there have been many occasions where sending an extra email felt like “needless communication” until I viewed it from the lens of trust building. While I have not been perfect, and I am constantly working to be better at this, Value 1B has helped me improve my communication. It has also helped me guide our organization to build efficient systems and processes to close loops instead of letting them remain open. If I respond that a project has been received, forwarded along, or completed, the group or individual I am working with can rest easy, knowing I have not forgotten their request or let it fall by the wayside.
Like Value 1A, closing the loop is not only important in my professional life, but it has made a difference in my personal life. As a father, working in conjunction with my wife to give our children everything they need, my wife and I must communicate properly and close the loop about our tasks and responsibilities to not waste money or time on something the other has already been completed. Keeping each other informed by closing the loop also eliminates potential conflicts in our everyday lives.
Foundation and Pillars of Our Organization
If making and keeping commitments is our foundation of trust, closing loops are the pillars, and we need the pillars to keep our organization standing strong.
We asked employees what they thought of Value 1B:
I regularly receive emails that even say, ‘just closing the loop on this.’ It really helps me trust others to own processes and reach out when they need updates or help.
I feel this is a staple at Blue Raven Solar. I have incorporated this phrase so much in my life that I have started to use it at home. The install operations team is a great example of this.
'Done’ is the best four-letter word.
I have seen and overheard how several employees in customer operations will come in for just 2-3 minutes on a day they are not scheduled to call back a customer and keep their promise. This is admirable.
In my department, with it being so small, we constantly discuss what needs to be done, go do it, then come back and close the loop. Value 1B is pretty much what our whole process revolves around.
Anytime I ask to do something through email, I get a response of “done” once it has been taken care of. It eliminates the worry of it going unnoticed.
I think this is one of the few places I have worked for where everyone both consistently emails, messages, calls, etc. when something is done, and the people on the receiving end of this communication are actually appreciative rather than feeling like their time is wasted. Love it.
One of the things I have noticed about Blue Raven Solar is it builds a culture of keeping your commitment. One of the things that I love about the co-ops team is people will always send an email or a message to let one know that they got the job done or followed up on it.
We are very good at keeping everyone in the loop (most of the time). When someone is involved in anything, that person gets updates and is included in multiple stages of the process, until the issue is resolved. This helps us understand the workings of every department very well.
When on the roof, we keep a flow of communication. As a step gets done, we inform one another so no one is doing double work.
I love seeing notes about how a coordinator looped back with a homeowner to close the loop on the status of their project. It shows me that we all care about keeping our customers informed and reassured.
Fortunately, my team is super great at keeping everyone in the loop via group text and group email. We also follow up in person to make sure everyone is on the same page.
When problems are identified, Blue Raven Solar does a good job identifying whether the issue was a failure to close the loop. To me, that means I: freely take ownership, delegate, when necessary, resolve the task one way or another, and keep interested parties informed.
In Proposals, we always communicate together as a team when one of us has claimed a project before the other and we report on it, so we do not do the same project twice to increase productivity.
Since I need to coordinate with so many different people in all of these different jobs and situations, closing the loop is huge to me and I know our customers love it when they are constantly being updated.
Our Dedication to Customers, Homeowners, and Residents
Our mission is to make homeowners’ lives better by reducing their energy bills, by increasing their reliance on clean and abundant renewable energy, and by providing a world-class customer experience through a reliable sales process and a speedy, high-quality installation.
Our customers are the most important people in each of our projects, and we are dedicated to keeping our commitments to them, but we are also closing the loop in every process step to continue their project.
Each of our values and sub-values play a vital role in our relationship with our customers. With thousands of 5-star reviews and top ratings among other solar platforms, we know we stand out because of our dedication to living this mission and supporting values. We are leading the solar industry into the future, and we know our mission and values are a vital part of the leadership and our continuation of excellent standards and quality.
Is Blue Raven Solar the right solar installer for you? You can take advantage of the sun’s energy today by reaching out to one of our solar experts.