By Ben Peterson, Former CEO
At Blue Raven, 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 for us here at Blue Raven Solar.
Our third value, “Continuously Improve,” means four things:
3A: Gather data to make decisions
3B: Follow the Blue Raven six-step problem solving approach
3C: Try new things and fail quickly
3D: Be go-getters
What Does this Value Mean?
“Try new things and fail quickly” is what we will dive deeper into.
When we give our team members permission to try new things at Blue Raven Solar, you will often see them smile and their eyes light up. While it might be surprising, we have learned it is hard to overstate the positive impact of giving people permission to try new things.
A few years ago, one of our new managers asked for permission to try a new process for evaluating re-roofs. I said, “Sure!” To summarize, the process did not go as planned, and we ended up losing $10,000.
The new manager came to me in tears. When I told her Value 3C meant she was supposed to try new things and she had actually succeeded, she looked at me quizzically. I do believe she succeeded—she had tried something and failed quickly, and I was proud of her! She later thanked me and said, “I will never make this mistake again.” She built an even better process and went on to become one of our strongest contributors. The experience shaped her development and commitment to the continuous improvement process.
We believe in learning from our mistakes. Often, the politics of ideas play out in unhealthy ways. People advocate for the idea they view as their own instead of the idea with the most merit.
At Blue Raven Solar, when implementing any change to our process, we seek timely feedback to pivot quickly. We also give ourselves permission to pull the plug on bad ideas. From sales channels to site survey methods, referral incentives to choices about technology, and the very heart of our business model – we have tried new things, failed quickly, and continuously improved.
Here’s How Some of Our Employees State They Experience and Live Value 3C at Blue Raven Solar:
Blue Raven Solar is always trying new things. We celebrate successes, identify lessons and move on from failures.
There has been a lot of trial and error lately. We have implemented tons of new processes and have kept some and ditched others. It makes me feel like we are growing and thriving. I am excited about where things are going!
There are awesome systems set in place to evaluate processes that we try. If it does not work, the goal is to catch it quickly and then go back to the drawing board.
I have seen lots of new programs and tools throughout the company being used and if those do not work new ones are tried to make sure that we are working as fast and accurately as we can.
Blue Raven Solar is willing to let us try new tools to reduce our cycle time and put the responsibility on our shoulders. The results of that are checked by our manager who helps us decide on what needs to happen.
Everyone is constantly learning from their mistakes and consciously knowing not to make them again. We find creative ways to problem-solve and have tons of opportunities to express our creative problem-solving skills.
I have been able to make mistakes and learn from them in every aspect of learning the job. And everyone is so supportive while helping me learn.
All departments now have operations coordinators allowing people to transition from different roles to find where they really fit and are not locked into roles that do not quite fit.
As each department makes changes to keep up with a growing customer base, we switch positions and teams and always try something new if it does not work.
There are often new people who are starting in every department, they are all encouraged to not worry about getting it wrong and to always do their best, in an effort to promote quick failure and quick learning for them, this in my opinion is the best way to learn, train, and grow as a company.
The proposal team leads are always trying new things and having new ideas to improve the department. Whether it is making adjustments to the tool, or trying new strategies with audits or predesigns, there is always new ground being broken and ideas being tested without fear of failure.
I see 3C modeled in my inspections team all the time! We all want to do our job the best that we can and try to create new methods and change our current methods to better the processes we go through daily.
Inspections has created a system to determine which departments we are waiting on in order to schedule an inspection. This is causing others to be more accountable for their work and address these items in a timelier matter.
Sales Development Management is always urging and wanting us to try new approaches, sales trainings, and making sure we are constantly evolving and becoming better at our jobs. ‘Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of madness.’
A Key Attribute We Look For
Continuous improvement is integral to our organization, not just for our customers, but also for our individual growth, professionally and personally. We believe in promoting from within and bringing more opportunities to our team members. With Value 3C at the front of our mind, we know Blue Raven Solar will continue to grow and refine. Through this value, we can not only achieve our mission, but we can achieve it with better processes and results.
Building upon previous values and supporting statements, by trusting one another and maintaining efficiency, we can try new things and fail quickly without fear. We can present ideas, go through disagreeing and problem-solving, and put ideas to the test– opening opportunities for brilliance.
Blue Raven Solar Mission and Next Steps
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. With trial and error built into one of our core values, we know we can create better paths to bringing solar to more homeowners!
Does the solar movement sound like something you want to be part of?
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