Value 1A: Keeping Commitments – The First Step Toward Developing Trust
By Ben Peterson, Former CEO
The First Step Toward Developing Trust
At Blue Raven Solar, to go along with and help uphold our mission statement, we have three values:
- Develop a High-Trust Culture
- Be Efficient
- Continuously Improve.
Each value is accompanied by four statements capturing what living this value means to us so we can achieve our mission, which is to make homeowners’ lives better. The mission and values, though relatively specific to Blue Raven Solar and our operations, have been important parts of life outside of work. With the sub-values attached, I believe every person within and outside of our organization can live similar values to bring balance, ease, and joy to their lives.
The first of these statements, Value 1A, states:
Keep commitments to homeowners, sales reps, employees, installers, technicians, vendors, and investors.
Keeping commitments is ordered first among the four statements describing how we develop a high trust culture because it builds trust in any sort of relationship, especially with those you are working closely with, or are investing in you and your services.
We often refer to it as making a deposit in somebody’s trust bank account. The greater the commitment, the greater the deposit, and the greater stakes involved. Over the years, we have made countless commitments as an organization, and we have worked hard to keep each one of them. We are proud when we make and keep commitments and we are saddened when there is a gap between what we say and what we do in any part of our organization, and we do our best to make up for it in any way that we can.
Whether it is making a promise to a homeowner regarding the system we installed for them will produce the amount of electricity we quoted or continuing to pay a residual to our sales teams when so many in the industry said we would not – we are serious when we say keeping commitments is a large part of our first value.
We list homeowners first in this statement because without their trust, we truly would not have a business. We could not bring solar to more homeowners across the nation. Our sales representatives, employees, installers, and technicians follow because they embody the spirit of Blue Raven Solar’s mission statement in all they do each day. Our trust with each other within the organization is vital, especially with so many moving parts and pieces. Our vendors and investors are then mentioned because we wanted to specify they are important to our operations, and without them, we would not be anywhere near where we are now. We must maintain our commitments to our supporters so they can continue to help us as we bring solar to more homeowners.
For me, personally, there have been many nights over the years when I am about to head to bed, but I remember telling someone I would do something by the end of the day. While I have not been perfect, and no one is, Value 1A has often helped me return to my computer to finish a task by a deadline I promised, returning faithfully on someone’s deposit of trust. Keeping commitments has helped me as a colleague and CEO, but it has also helped me as a husband, father, and friend.
Making and keeping commitments is the foundation of trust. It is Value 1A for us, listed first, because the other values would carry no weight without it. Our customers notice we do everything we can to deliver exactly what we say we will, and it has brought success to our organization. This value will continue to do just that as we move forward into the future, building more trust with more homeowners along the way.
We asked a few employees what they thought of Value 1A, and I love their responses. Not only do we see it is implemented into their own tasks, projects, and responsibilities but they see it in others and notice how it makes a large difference. We hope all our employees, in our corporate office and around the country, feel they are dedicated, as are their colleagues, to Value 1A and they can see the positive effects of their kept commitments.
Blue Raven Solar’s Employee Thoughts about Value 1A
I have seen a lot of people speak cautiously. Not out of fear, but out of a genuine concern for making a commitment we cannot keep. Culturally, it has created a lot of thoughtful people that consider realistic paths forward and communicate them effectively.
All of our installers take personal pride in their work. They will not pull off a jobsite unless absolutely necessary. These guys give it their all to complete what has been assigned and keep the machine running.
The huddle boards are a daily exercise in keeping commitments. The capacity and demand exercise are a great time to publicly state our goals and follow up on the goals we set the previous day.
This is something the Blue Raven Solar staff at every corporate level demonstrates every day. I am always impressed with the amazing people we have here, and by their willingness to go above and beyond to both extend commitments and keep the commitments they (or we as a collective whole) make every day.
The best example of 1a being exhibited in our culture is that people refer to the value often in ordinary discussion. It is common to hear employees say ‘I made a commitment…
The email received earlier this year from our suppliers was really cool, because we said we would sell the panels they gave us, and they did not expect us to keep our word. They were pleasantly surprised and promised to keep working with us.
As an entity, design has made it a point to complete every job that comes through our queue that same day. We are currently averaging around 85% in that endeavor. In doing so we commit to everyone involved that the job will be done in a timely manner with 100% efficiency.
We often compensate customers for rebate amounts that we did not receive, simply because it was promised to them beforehand. We eat the difference and try to make it up in other ways rather than going back on our promises to homeowners.
We promise our sales reps, investors and homeowners that we are committed to performing high quality work. I love how we make it a priority to track and follow-up on pass inspection rate and see what crews need additional training. The tools we have in place along with the process of following up make sure that we are keeping our commitments of high quality.
Recently in a new hire check in we received great feedback from a new field employee. It sparked a conversation between multiple departments on how to avoid miscommunications between field and corporate – all to ensure that we are keeping our commitments to customers as well as to each other. It is amazing to watch how seriously we take this value and how impactful it is to our success.
I have been impressed by how we are willing to turn reviews into action. All too often when customers feel a business has not followed through it falls on deaf ears. However, I am thrilled to see our willingness to commit to creating positive experiences for our customers.
An Ongoing Commitment and Promise
We are creating an environment for employees, customers, and all other stakeholders to trust each other in each step of their journey. This is extremely important for our culture and connections with everyone we are involved with—each person we make a commitment to will see us uphold our end to the best of our abilities. Solar is a big change for many homeowners, and we refuse to make it difficult.
With our mission and values at our sides, we are ready to make the world a better place through clean, renewable energy. We plan to do it with the highest standards. One of the commitments Blue Raven Solar makes to our customers is to be a reliable, high-quality solar installer giving each individual homeowner the best products and services while making the switch to solar energy. I am proud to lead a company full of people who prioritize the trust of others, and I have no doubt we are headed for more success and growth.
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