Our first fundamental, Do the right thing, always, is the foundation of our Famous 40′ as it sets the tone for how we operate individually and as a company. Achieving excellence in this first fundamental will help all of us build and earn more trust with everyone with whom we live and work, both personally and professionally.
I want to share with you one of my favorite stories that happened approximately 25 years ago, and I did not even learn of it until 10 years later. John Palermo, our Vice President of Sales and Branch Operations, was an assistant manager of our Akron branch at the time this situation occurred. He, along with other sales people at the branch, attended a Builder’s Exchange meeting one evening. The following morning, he came into work, walked into the branch office, and handed our administrative assistant $500 in cash to be deposited into our Famous account. She looked at him kind of bewildered, and asked why he was giving her this money. He told her that he won the grand prize the previous night in a raffle at the Builder’s Exchange meeting. She asked, Wasn’t it your money, since you won the raffle? He told her the following: If I would have bought a ticket with my own money to go to an event, then I would have been the winner and recipient of that money. But since the company paid for my ticket to attend the business dinner and festivities, I consider it a company function, and therefore, it’s the company’s money, and all of our associates who are part of our profit sharing. I think I can speak for all of us in saying we’re proud of the way John handled that situation; he did so in a way that was in the best interest of not only the company, but of John, his family, and how he strives to lead his life.
I believe this story is a great reminder for all of us as we make it a priority in our lives to always do the right thing. It is not uncommon for people in society to not do the right thing from time to time. The magic question is, are you in the group who doesn’t always do the right thing, or are you in the other group that either does the right thing or is determined to become a person who does the right thing, always. I hope it’s the latter.
So here’s another magic question, when is the best time to start doing the right thing, always? You are correct. The answer is now. Right now. Starting today, let’s all make every effort to do the right thing each and every day. If you are ever unsure about a situation, talk to a friend or coworker, or anyone in management at Famous, and ask the question, should I be doing this or not?
At our Culture meetings with David Friedman and Rob Wolff, they both had some analogies that help describe a great way to look at this fundamental. I really liked when David said, If you went home at night, and were having dinner with your family, and you were describing a situation, and what you did or did not do, how would you feel about it? If you would be proud to tell them about what you did, then you probably did the right thing. If you were apprehensive about telling them, then you probably were not doing the right thing. And if you would not want to tell them, then you were definitely not doing the right thing. This is a great and simple way to think about our first fundamental.