Core Values: Work Ethic

Core Values: Work Ethic

Telcion has four core values and behaviors:

• Selflessness – Team before self.
• Work Ethic – Do whatever it takes to get the job done.
Transparency – Open and honest communication about everything.
Curiosity – A willingness to ask “why?” with a desire to learn new things.

These core values have been tested over many years and they embody Telcion’s culture. Let’s talk through the core value of work ethic and why it’s important.

What is work ethic? Wikipedia defines work ethic as:

"a belief that hard work and diligence have a moral benefit and an inherent ability, virtue or value to strengthen character and individual abilities. It is a set of values centered on importance of work and manifested by determination or desire to work hard.”

The behavior that we at Telcion have associated with work ethic is “doing whatever it takes to get the job done.”

This is the kind of core value that is taught to most of us when we’re growing up, often modeled by a parent or significant role model. By the time we reach adulthood, we’ve either embodied this value or we haven’t.

The main reason Telcion values work ethic so much is because of the kind of work we do. We are frequently called upon to perform work that cannot be stopped once it’s started, or to respond to emergencies within our clients’ environments that require immediate action, no matter what time of day it might be. This often requires going onsite after normal work hours or working remotely on an issue overnight until it’s resolved.

We realized that this was an important value for us when, many years ago, we had people on our team who would go home in the middle of a project. They had committed to meeting a timeline but when it came down to it, they were not really committed. They were only committed if the project was done within their own timeframe (as we know, projects rarely follow the timelines we set).

Here’s the thing: there is nothing wrong with deciding that other things are more important than your work commitments. Sometimes there are very good reasons to do so. Maybe you have a loved one with a medical emergency or you and your spouse have different work schedules requiring overlap to provide care for your children. I get it.

However, people with a strong work ethic find ways to overcome these personal obstacles, and consistently follow through on the commitments they’ve made. These are people you can count on. And when you have an organization full of people who highly value work ethic, it becomes obvious to them when there are others on the team who don’t. The ones who do become resentful, because they are the ones who pick up the slack.

These observations have led Telcion to understand how important work ethic is as a value in our company and in the people on our team. We want others who have this value to join us. (Likewise, if this does not appeal to you, we won’t be the right team for you.) Telcion believes that when you make a commitment, especially to a client, you absolutely must follow through. To do this, it is essential for us to have people on our team who will be there when you need them the most.

Some people believe that it’s impossible for work ethic and another core value, such as family, to coexist. I firmly believe it’s possible to hold work ethic high in your value system and also maintain personal values and commitments that are important to you. I believe this because I have been doing it for many years. My work is extremely important to me and I need to be there for my clients and for my team. I also value my family and ministry commitments and want to honor them as well. So how can you do both?

The key is to make sure that the people in your circle, outside of work, fully understand your values and how they come into play, and to create margin in your life. How do you do that?

First, understand the values of the other people in your life. Understand what is important to them. If you have honest conversations with your inner circle, they will understand when one value trumps another. Then you must follow through and not over commit yourself. The only time I get myself in trouble is when I have committed to do something in my personal life and also committed to doing something at work. If I constantly put my work ethic above my family, this will cause friction. That is not a fun way to live and will eventually cause a break down in your personal relationships, requiring you to spend time repairing them.

Second, you must create margin in your life. This means not being so heavily committed each day that when things come up out of the blue—and they will—you don’t have the ability to deal with them without breaking numerous commitments. In our financial life, we all know what it means to have an emergency fund. We set aside extra money to cover unexpected expenses— car repair, appliance breakdown, etc. The same concept applies to our time. We need to set aside time each day for when unexpected things come up. Margin gives us room to make adjustments and still meet our commitments. Sometimes that extra time is needed for work. Sometimes it’s needed for family. We all want to be people who others can count on. Having margin in your life makes that possible.

If you do these things, then you will find that you can have multiple core values in your life, including work ethic.

[This article was contributed by Lance Reid, Telcion's CEO.]