“You can’t go home again,” wrote Thomas Wolfe.
In the next several weeks I will be blogging on my memories of starting out – my first position out of college – and how I chanced to be hired by E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, Inc., of Wilmington Delaware.
I hope this will be more than a “remember when” story. I hope to make it relevant.
Why is this a remarkable story? Why should it be told? Well, let me tell you a little about DuPont.
DuPont is one of the oldest firms in the world – founded in 1802. It continues today and is still in the Fortune Fifty (F-50) and is one of the Dow Jones firms that tell us where the stock market is. Pretty remarkable. No other firm on the Dow Jones can trace itself back that far.
More remarkable still is that DuPont is a “green” company whose corporate policy is environmentally conscious. Kermit may have lamented, “it’s not easy being green,” but DuPont is doing something about their impact on the environment.
I will have a chance to “go home again” and see how life has changed, remember some lessons, and discuss how corporation reinvent themselves. You have to be pretty good at it to do it for 200 years – and still going strong.
A friend of mine is a VP at International Business Machines, IBM, and she recalled a seminar that gave the names of the F-50 firms at the turn of the previous century, circa 1910. She told me about it because DuPont was on that list.
The presenter pointed out that apart from General Electric (GE) and DuPont, all those firms have faded from the scene. He went on to suggest that most corporations last three score and ten, like in the Bible, and then they fade away, living about as long as humans.
He asked the group – how old is IBM. Just about 70 years and he closed on this point.
Reinvention is tough. What principles do we learn? What values do we internalize. I think I internalized many of the present values early on – and those you read about here on PingV’s “Purpose” my values flow from that experience. Laura brings her own annealing experiences and we worked these out over months of talking and reflecting. We did not ask an outside ageny to come in and hand them to us.
We have the purpose in its own section, but I though I would revisit it here as I embark on my sentimental journey. Our purpose is our keel and rudder and here it is,
1. Human creativity makes our world possible, gives us hope and enriches our existence. It is a driving force of the universe, and one of the great gifts of humankind. pingV was founded to embrace, celebrate and empower that gift.
2. A corporation’s success rests squarely with its people. People are not interchangeable commodities. We hire people of talent who have a strong work ethic and want to make a difference in this world.
3. We are a corporate family, not a corporate culture. We recognize success comes through our distinctive strengths united for a common purpose.
4. Our purpose is to leave the world better than we found it and those who deal with us better off than when they came to us. This means we empower people to help them achieve their goals.
5. We take time to listen to peoples’ goals. We strive to offer people positive choices in molding their own destinies. We want to empower those around us and in so doing, their success becomes our success, not the other way around.
6. Our focus always is on high quality work. Cost-effectiveness does not have to mean low quality. High value comes from high quality at an affordable price.
7. After we have done our work, success must be lasting and independent of us. It is human to want to plant shade trees under which we will never sit.
8. Wisdom is an art, and a gift, and a practice, and we look for it within ourselves, each other and those who come to us. We know the ultimate measures of our success are not our profits, but the honestly earned praise and satisfaction of those we have served.
9. Innovation is the servant, not the master. Technology must not become a barrier or end in itself if people are to live free and meaningful lives of choices. We want to help people share knowledge. Empowering people to communicate and interact while preserving their privacy is our contribution to this world.
10. The present time is only a point of departure. While a clear vision of the current reality is essential, it should not prevent clear visioning of what might be. Our business is built upon realities that yesterday were only possibilities.