Respect All People, the Earth, and Ethical Codes: How Doing Good is Good for Business
By Chris Parrott, Chief Marketing Officer of Mike Albert Fleet Solutions
At Mike Albert, we spend a lot of time thinking about, talking about, and living our company values. In this series, Navigating the High Road, senior leaders from our company explore our core values, why they are important, and how we instill them in our corporate culture.
Don’t be a jerk.
That’s a straightforward, if somewhat simplistic, way to summarize one of our core corporate values: “Respect All People, the Earth, and Ethical Codes.” After all, when we don’t treat others or our planet appropriately, we’re acting like jerks (or worse).
At the root of this value is the notion of treating others according to the Golden Rule and doing one’s part to care for our fragile planet. Let me share some examples of how I do my best to live up to this value and how I see others doing the same at our company.
Respecting All People
Early in my career, I learned that most people don’t just want a job. They want to be part of a story in which their role matters and helps achieve a great ending. Such stories begin with one feeling valued and heard: two prerequisites for respect, and ones that we take seriously here at Mike Albert.
To that end, we believe that respecting our colleagues means encouraging them to chase their professional dreams and providing the training and other opportunities to realize them. Our leadership regularly brings in trainers to help our team acquire new talents, whether it be soft skills like collaboration or hard skills like data management. We also send people to various professional development workshops and seminars. Seeing potential in people while simultaneously investing in their growth is an outward and undeniable sign of respect.
As the leader of marketing, I strive to show respect for my team members by motivating and empowering them to achieve their professional goals, whether that be doing a bang-up job on a big project, earning a promotion, or acquiring a new skill. I accomplish this by meeting weekly with each person to discuss what’s on their mind and how I can help them succeed. In short, I want to know what motivates them to show up each day and give their best. It’s knowing—and respecting—these reasons that allow me to help them fulfill their aspirations.
Among the other ways our company demonstrates respect for our people is via an annual team survey. We review the data carefully and develop action plans that honor their feedback. In another show of respect, through volunteer activities and support of nonprofits, Mike Albert helps make our colleagues’ communities better places to live.
Our value speaks of respecting “all people,” so it refers not only to our teammates but also to our clients and business partners. I see this respect in action every day at Mike Albert. For instance, our upfit engineers will often ask what may seem like endless questions of our clients looking to have their vehicles upfitted. (This includes the addition of shelving and other features that make work more efficient, productive, and safe.) Our engineers ask so many questions because they want to recommend the best solution that solves our client’s most pressing needs. If they didn’t care, they would ask about one-third of the questions and be content recommending some so-so solution. Wanting to get everything right for our customers—and taking the time to make it so—is a desire rooted in respect.
Respecting the Earth
At Mike Albert, the nature of our mobility business puts us in the enviable position of doing something environmentally responsible every day. We make our most significant impact by assisting companies nationwide with electrifying their fleets, which entails replacing internal combustion engine vehicles with zero-emission electric vehicles (EVs).
And when it comes to EVs, we practice what we preach. Our corporate fleet is about 75% electric, and that percentage will only get higher as more EV options become available. Our main campus offers charging stations to encourage EV adoption among our team.
Our efforts to respect the Earth go beyond EVs, too. We’re always looking for more sustainable, eco-friendly practices to adopt. In the past, our office had a significant number of printers—more than what was needed—but as part of our efforts to become more environmentally conscious, we sought ways to reduce the volume of printing, saving paper and reducing energy consumption. We’ve also placed water stations around our main campus to minimize reliance on single-use plastic bottles.
Respecting Ethical Codes
At Mike Albert, we insist that every customer we win and every dollar we earn is above board and can withstand even the most intense scrutiny. It’s just the right thing to do—but also good for business. We’ve earned our stellar reputation over six decades of hard work and commitment to our customers, and we consider that reputation to be priceless. To help protect it, we regularly offer training sessions on ethical business behavior. This is not because we’re worried about our people deliberately violating an ethical code, but rather that they might unwittingly fall victim to someone else’s evil plan.
We also maintain a strong ethic of transparency and accountability. They go hand in hand, and genuine respect would be strained without them. For instance, we always provide complete and accurate financial information to our clients so they can make the best, most informed decisions. We do regular internal audits as a proactive measure to verify compliance. This fosters trust—and respect—throughout our entire company.
In our business, we help our clients collect and analyze a wealth of vehicle and driver performance data, and we consider it an ethical imperative to protect the privacy of this data. We have robust and stringent security measures in place to accomplish this. Plus, every Mike Albert team member participates in a data security and privacy training program so they can recognize and report suspicious online activity. Once again, we turn to regular audits and compliance checks to ensure the data entrusted to us is secure and accessed only by those authorized.
In summary, genuine respect doesn’t just happen; one must do something to call it into existence and then nurture and sustain it. Often, this means not taking the road of least resistance but the one of most resistance. Doing so may require investment in the short term, but it pays dividends in the long term—just the way our company, founded in the 1950s, prefers it. And that’s something only a jerk couldn’t respect.