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Happy Employees Often Stem from Clear Values

Motivating employees -- and hiring the right ones -- often means achieving a good fit with company values. At MindSpring, they've pieced together 208 words full of commitments to customers, shareholders, and each other.

July 28, 2000
Related Topics: Values, Corporate Culture, Motivating Employees
In a market crowded with Internet service providers, MindSpring stands out. Surveys routinely put the company at or near the top -- like the 1999 J.D. Power and Associates study that ranked MindSpring No. 1 in overall customer satisfaction.

The people who work there attribute much of this success to an intense focus on their set of core values and beliefs -- 208 simple words full of serious commitments to customers, shareholders, and each other.

These values are highlighted at their Web site, featured in brochures, cited in press releases, and mentioned in their recorded phone greeting. The people of MindSpring even issue a values challenge: "If we don't seem to be living up to them, call us on it!"


MindSpring Core Values & Beliefs

We respect the individual, and believe that individuals who are treated with respect and given responsibility respond by giving their best.

We require complete honesty and integrity in everything we do.

We make commitments with care, and then live up to them. In all things, we do what we say we are going to do.

Work is an important part of life, and it should be fun. Being a good businessperson does not mean being stuffy and boring.

We are frugal. We guard and conserve the company's resources with at least the same vigilance that we would use to guard and conserve our own personal resources.

We insist on giving our best effort in everything we undertake. Furthermore, we see a huge difference between "good mistakes" (best effort, bad result) and "bad mistakes" (sloppiness or lack of effort).

Clarity in understanding our mission, our goals, and what we expect from each other is critical to our success.

We are believers in the Golden Rule. In all our dealings we will strive to be friendly and courteous, as well as fair and compassionate.

We feel a sense of urgency on any matters related to our customers. We own problems and we are always responsive. We are customer driven.

(Postscript: In February 2000, MindSpring merged with Earthlink—and the new organization has fully adopted these core values and beliefs.)

From the book "22 Keys to Creating a Meaningful Workplace."

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