What Makes a Company Great
What Makes a Company Great
January 17, 2020
Jorge Valdés, Ph.D.
When my partners and I started Dart Digital, LLC, we had a tremendous desire to differentiate ourselves from other similar companies. We did not want our company to be defined because we had cutting edge technology, excellent personnel, or great marketing. Any company can claim these qualities. We sincerely wanted our customers to say that they did business with us because we were a great company. Therefore to achieve this goal, the first question we asked ourselves was what makes a company great.
No matter how hard we tried to determine what constituted a great company, we realized we were failing. The reason we were failing to find an answer was that we were approaching it from a business point of view; once we realized that, we quickly came up with the answer. A great company was not one that had all the above qualities; a great company was one that gave back. As committed Christians, we believed that if God blessed us with wealth, it was our responsibility to give a percentage of that wealth to make an impact on the life of others; thus, we created the Tres Hermanos Foundation.
As the mission of the Tres Hermanos Foundation evolved, our focus shifted from providing minorities educational opportunities and our triathlon training program to impacting criminal reform in the United States. As a founding director, I have committed a significant part of my life to address the failures of the War on Drugs, as I believe that I bring a unique perspective having been a former cartel member.
For THE TRES HERMANOS FOUNDATION, our direction and focus are to impact the lives of many inmates who have a chance to change their lives and become contributing members of society and not continue to be a burden. THE TRES HERMANOS FOUNDATION sends copies of my book Narco Mindset - Freedom Edition, to as many United States prisons as possible. It is my dream to distribute one million books in the next ten years! Massive incarceration has horrific effects on everyone in any society.
In the year 2009, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates held a dinner in New York City to plan out how they and others could give more of their wealth to make a difference in the world. A year later, in 2010, they announced the Giving Pledge, a campaign that would promote philanthropy.
As a result of signing the Giving Pledge, over $500 billion has been donated by those who signed it. Not to diminish this great achievement and all the good it will produce, but the Giving Pledge has also revealed the lack of philanthropy in America, especially among billionaires.
As of October 2019, the U.S. had 621 billionaires (Wikipedia), and there are more than 2,000 around the world, yet out of the more than 2,000 billionaires worldwide, only 204 have signed the Giving Pledge.
It is great to imagine the impact the money donated by those 204 individuals. As a result of their generosity, many lives are being saved, as well as changed. Yet, what is sad is how few wealthy individuals have signed the Pledge. I wonder what makes a person selfish or the desire to accumulate for the sake of accumulation. After all, how many more zeros do human beings need?
Most Americans do not have the kind of wealth of those individuals who Buffett and Gates urged to sign the Pledge. So is that fact a reason for most of us not to give. Do we justify our lack of generosity by pointing to billionaires who do not care?
What my partners and I discovered about our decision to give back was that our customers found out about us and chose to give us more business than we had anticipated. As Christians, we were straightforward in our belief, and we believed that we could not out-give God. History taught us that our decision to give back and create The Tres Hermanos Foundation not only made us feel good about ourselves but impacted our business in many positive ways.
One day I asked one customer why he gave us more business, he stated that he respected a company with a social conscience and it was his choice to pick who he felt not only cared about profits but also cared about others. If we cared about others, we would care about his company.
For our employees and ourselves, the impact was tremendous. Yes, our company grew and provided greater financial rewards for us, but we found that our employees took great pride in knowing that they were part of helping others. Many of our employees had opportunities to leave our company and go to another company that would pay them more. Yet, they chose to stay as they knew that if our company cared about helping others, many whom we did not know, then our company would care about them and their families.
Today most companies only care about the bottom line. Therefore, employee salaries, health care, family leave, and employee well being is inconsequential. These companies believe that to pay more than the seven dollar minimum wage would have a drastic negative impact on their bottom line. Yet they ignore the cost they incur from employee turn over, lower production, and abuse of sick leave. After all, if the company does not care, why should the employees care. Therefore, as businessmen, our mission was to be excellent, treat our customers with respect, and give them a dollar ten of service for a dollar of pay.
We did not define ourselves as Christian businessmen. We made sure everyone knew that we are businessmen that happened to be committed Christians. As committed Christians, our mission was to love others as we were loved, to treat others as we liked to be treated, and never to allow anyone to question our faith and what we stood for because of a business decision or practice we engaged.