At Blue Raven Solar, we have three values:
1. Develop a High-Trust Culture
2. Be Efficient
3. Continuously Improve.
Each value is accompanied by four statements that try to capture what living this value means for us.
The first of these statements is 1a: Keep commitments to homeowners, sales reps, employees, installers, technicians, vendors, and investors. The second is 1b: Close the loop – report back to each other.
The third is:
I’ve read several articles that put the percentage of companies that have defined an explicit set of values at about 90%. (Obviously, the percentage of people in each of these organizations that actually know their company’s values is much, much lower.) Value 1c for us contains two instructions: respect others and empower others. Respect and empowerment are similar, but different.
The idea of respecting others is likely somehow expressed in most value statements. At Blue Raven Solar, we talk at length about how sales and operations need to really respect each other. In typical organizations, the sales side of the business thinks operators are like wet blankets, always weighing the downside or telling sales why things are difficult or impossible. Likewise, operators typically think salespeople over-promise or have a naïve view of what it takes to build a product.
Whether sales or operations is ultimately right depends on the issue in question and is largely irrelevant. What matters is that both sides of the business respect each other and appreciate the differences in approach, mindset, and skillset. You cannot have a great business without strong sales and you cannot have a great business without top-notch fulfillment. Respect can’t be faked either – it comes from what we believe about others.
Empowerment is different than respect. Empowerment means giving people a chance to do big things, to take the lead, to try something new. It means supporting them from beginning to end, and especially when they fail. Authentic empowerment requires respect, but it also requires us to step back and allow others to lead free from micromanagement.
When we first started Blue Raven Solar, we pivoted our business model within our first year. Without empowering key people and trusting them to learn new things, we would have failed. I am grateful for the lessons of respect and empowerment from our early days and for the reminder that these two principles are just as central to building trust today.
We asked employees how they experience value 1c at Blue Raven Solar. Here is what a few of them said:
My suggestions are taken seriously and can enact change.
I feel really empowered by the feedback I receive. It is always presented with the feeling of wanting me to do better. It is done very respectfully and considerate of my abilities and responsibilities.
Everybody here wants to succeed, and does their work to make it happen. I think we work well together. You don’t see many people at Blue Raven who purposefully clog up the pipeline.
We have a great culture here. We listen to others ideas and build upon differing opinions to help towards our ultimate goals.
Not doing for others what they can do for themselves, but rather helping them to gain the needed skills.
Every time I talk on the phone with another department they are kind and willing to help me better understand the process. I have also felt the urge to make everyone knowledgeable of what they do, giving me “power” to resolve customer’s questions.
We all respect the work of our fellow coworkers and we strive to make sure that we do our jobs to the best of our ability
From the initial onboarding process, to being fully trained, everyone has been willing to answer questions and give positive feedback. Understanding that we’ve all been new at one point in time has helped me to feel comfortable asking questions and jumping in.
We are a diverse group of individuals working toward advancing a great cause such as renewable energy. This is only possible when a diverse group has respect for each other despite many differences. This mutual respect in my opinion then creates “power” for one another.
We all can be so much more successful because we work together and always have each other’s backs.
Everyone at Blue Raven is kind and respects each other and the role they play in the company. There is a culture of complimenting.
In every department I’ve been in, I’ve been respected and empowered by my co-workers. I feel comfortable when I don’t know something and feel safe asking questions and feel backed up when I make decisions.
I have always been impressed with the meetings at Blue Raven. They are a place where constructive disagreement can happen. Everyone’s input and opinion is respected, and when an action list is decided on, those tasked with assignments know they have the support needed to make it happen.
At Blue Raven we have a culture where even when we disagree, I believe there is mutual respect between people at all levels of the organization. We all work in a way that feeds off of one another and promotes a culture of improvement. We all give each other the support to pursue value.
Although questions arise and change is always happening, those in lead positions and those that have more experience are kind and respectful to those that are newer. They are willing to help, especially when a mistake is made.
I often tell new people that they can go to anyone in any department if they have any questions or need help on an account, even if they’ve never spoken to the person. People here genuinely want to do the best we can for our customers and because of that, everyone does everything they can to help each other out.
My coworkers are great at letting me know that I am succeeding and they aren’t competitive in the wrong way. We all respect and encourage each other in our success.