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Last Update: Sunday June 7, 2020

Key Idea: Put Your Values In Writing

Minneapolis-based Mike Wethington, now CEO of Outsell, discusses his earlier thoughts when he started Synet.  Your integrity and ethics should never be compromised by your business.

Key Question:


Invite them to a life of serving others.  Mike's seven values start with making the customer number one.  In this it's-all-about-me world, how refreshing this is.  People who are working on being the best they can be soon discover that  their lives improve when they focus on helping others. 

Therefore, Mike makes it clear that when you come to work for him, it is not about you it is about how you can serve the customers.  The UAW has it all wrong and this is why the American automobile business has failed.  The employees who are members of this union thought the purpose of a business is to create jobs.  Wrong.  The only purpose of a business is to create and maintain customers.  This is Peter Drucker's statement not mine.  Mike got it right when he started his list of seven values with the word, customer.

Mike's other values include quality, caring, teamwork, creativity, initiative and integrity.  Who would not want to work for Mike?

Think about it

Do your employees tell you that they are proud to work for you?  Do you find quality people coming to apply to work for you?  Do your current employees find new employees for you? If not,do you think it would help if you put your values in writing?

Clip from: Values-Based Business: Understanding Ethics and Personal Integrity

What is value?  How is it  created?  Within small business it surely is not based on a business valuation that a stock market can seemingly wipe out in a matter of days. What we discover is that  value has much to do with the real relations of business.    About those posters....

Outsell, Inc.

Mike Wethington, CEO

Visit our web site:

Business Classification:
Business services

Year Founded:

Put Your Values In Writing

MIKE WETHINGTON: I had two fundamental goals when I started Synet. I wanted to provide services to large IT organizations to make sure that their technology kept up and running. Companies spend billions and billions of dollars on all of this technology. But if it's not up and running, it's all for naught. And it's become so critical in business today to have the systems that they keep up and running. If they don't, they end up in the newspaper or on the news. Examples of the eBays and Charles Schwab...

HATTIE: Going down.

MIKE: ...and all going down. It's a critical function. So I had the business vision as to what I wanted to accomplish. But the other part is I wanted to create an organization that I wanted to be part of.

HATTIE: Interesting. That's the way you wrote the goal.

MIKE: Absolutely.

HATTIE: I want to lead an organization that I want to be part of.

MIKE: Absolutely.

HATTIE: OK. What were the qualifications? What was the criteria that you laid out? You said, `This is the kind of company I want to work for.'

MIKE: When I went through the process of defining my business plan, one of the things that I did back in '92 was that I ended up making sure that I created a set of values. And the values were based off of the type of environment that I wanted to be a part of. And I felt that it was a critical step in building the infrastructure of a great organization by making sure that we attracted people that shared those value sets.

HATTIE: OK. Give me an example of a value statement, or do you have it memorized or can you roll it off? Roll it off for me.

MIKE: We call it the Synet seven.

HATTIE: What are the Synet seven?

MIKE: We call "customer" a value. And the reason why we do (it) is we have a clear focus on serving customers and a belief that if you serve the customer, they'll take care of you. And last seven, eight years, we've found that 99 percent of the time, that's true.

The second is quality. If you're going to do it, do it the best. There's just no reason to do it any other way.

The third one was a different one. It was caring. And the reason why I wanted caring was I'd been in environments within--working for big companies and then being part of big companies that I didn't feel like they really cared for the associates, the employees. The employees didn't care for each other at times. And I also felt that it was important to care for the community.

And so what that created was incredible teamwork, which is our fourth value. And it just creates a magic within the environment.

The others are creativity. I wanted to create an environment like I had come from that allowed people to, if you had great ideas, be able to try it out.

The other was initiative. Finding people that did whatever it took to make it happen, and incentivize and reward people for that.

And finally, it was integrity, and that was really simple. It was just--to me--the Golden Rule: treat people the way you want to be treated.

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