One of the 44 executives I interviewed for the book, Steve Osborn, Founding Principal at CE Solutions, Inc., discussed how he has created and continued to sustain a service-driven culture within his company. This post is an excerpt from my interview with Steve.
Jim: What do you do within your firm to instill your values within your employees?
Steve Osborn: I’ve been lucky because I started the firm from scratch by myself and have been able to grow it organically. The hiring process is probably the most important thing we do since we’re a service provider. It’s important to have that culture — that foundational philosophy and those principles instilled in people when they come on board here. Our recruiting process is very intentional.
During the interview process, we talk a lot about what our firm is like, what’s important to us, what our foundational principles are, what our brand attributes are, and how we deliver service. We can tell by listening to people if they align with us. We look for the character values and attributes that we want. We’ve had really good success with that.
We create a lot of opportunities for those individuals to grow quickly. We involve them in client contact and give them all the responsibilities of project management upfront. The only thing that they don’t have is experience — but they have all of the other qualities that we’re looking for in a strong project manager. So we allow them to manage their own projects under the supervision of an experienced senior professional.
They can then be responsible for their work. We develop and prepare them. By the time they’re ready to take their PE exam, they’re very comfortable, prepared, and have a high success rate of passage. Then they get their own projects and fly solo after that.
Our clients have complimented us on that approach. They think it’s pretty unique that we give young individuals that many opportunities at an early age. They enjoy working with them as well. The young professionals are the point of contact, but they know they’ve got the senior guy next to them. Our young people get excited about that opportunity.