Southcan Electric Ltd is dedicated to the highest standard of safety, developing meaningful business relationships, and experienced hard workmanship. Southcan Electric team members are open minded and embody ethical behavior.
Our mantra is to learn, teach, and grow. We want to deliver you the best service at the lowest possible cost.
1.1 Southcan values truth.
1.2 Demand integrity from yourself and others.
a. Southcan has zero tolerance for saying anything about someone that you wouldn’t say to them directly. All problems must be brought to the surface in a diplomatic fashion. This includes, but is not limited to, on site and in office.
b. The well-being of Southcan Electric Ltd comes first and foremost.
1.3 Everyone has the right to understand. Asking questions is vital, understanding the procedure is key. There is zero tolerance for belittlement; we must leave ego at the door.
a. Speak up, measure believability.
b. Be extremely open.
c. Zero tolerance for dishonesty.
1.4 Be radically transparent.
a. Enforce justice.
b. Constructively criticize, listen, learn, share the hard things.
c. Keep exceptions to transparency rare i.e. personal information such as home life and finances.
d. Weigh ideas and decision intelligently.
e. Remove people who don’t have shared positive values. Give people time to learn and adopt the principles, but do not tolerate dishonesty.
f. NO EXCUSES. PERIOD. Passing responsibility by deflecting or making excuses is intolerable. Take responsibility, reflect on feedback, and grow. Constant blaming and inability to own up is poisonous to the environment of Southcan Electric.
1.5 Value and develop meaningful relationships and meaningful work. Surround the company with like-minded people with similar and honest values, but diverse skill sets.
2.1 Focus on the common mission and Southcan’s culture and principles. Forward concerns to leadership regarding behaviour that is inconsistent with Southcan’s principles.
2.2 Be clear with the work, the goals, the tasks, and safety practices and procedures.
a. Always give consideration, never demand it.
b. Know the difference between fairness and generosity.
c. Always be fair, supportive, and understanding.
d. Give and take. Be flexible with team member expectations; overtime work and time off are a part of life, use appropriateness and understanding when faced with these things.
2.3 Acknowledge that the growth/expansion of Southcan may impact the culture, work style, and relationships.
2.4 Treasure honest and honorable people who are capable team members.
3.1 Principles are a natural part of the process.
3.2 Fail well.
a. Learn from your mistakes, share, learn from others.
b. Prioritize achieving planned goals – be clear on the plan.
c. Be done with blame, and objectively categorize as “accurate” or “inaccurate.”
d. Observe and determine if patterns of mistakes are weaknesses and if those weaknesses can be leverages into opportunities for mentorship and growth.
e. Meditate on uncomfortable work thoughts. Change your mind set on these uncomfortable thoughts and consider them an opportunity to grow. Denying these thoughts is an intolerable ego issue.
3.3 Remember to always reflect on mistakes and pain.
a. Be self-reflective and make sure team members are self-reflective.
b. Realize that nobody can view themselves objectively. Be open to assessment and constructive criticism.
3.4 Teach and reinforce mistake-based learning.
a. Know the difference between acceptable and unacceptable mistakes: don’t allow unacceptable ones.
4.1 Conflict is essential for growing and cohesion. Use clear communication to resolve issues in a healthy way.
a. Take careful time to invest and get in sync. Open-mindedness and drive for a better future is essential.
4.2 Disagree well and healthily.
a. Genuinely listen, think before you speak.
b. Know the difference between idle complaints and complaints that lead to improvement.
c. Every story has two side. Weigh believability, look for facts.
4.3 Be open-minded and assertive at the same time.
a. Distinguish open-minded people from closed-minded people.
c. Watch out for people who think it’s embarrassing not to know and make others feel embarrassed for asking.
d. Make sure that those in charge are open-minded about the questions and comments of others.
e. Recognize that getting in sync is a two-way responsibility.
f. Focus on the substance of what is being said and be wary of excuse and deflection.
g. Be reasonable and expect others to be reasonable.
h. Making suggestions and questioning are not the same as criticizing, so don’t treat them as if they are.
4.4 If it is your crew to run, manage the conversation, mission, and people.
a. Make it clear who is directing the plans and whom it is meant to serve.
b. Be precise in what your expectations and orders are to avoid confusion.
c. Achieve completion in meetings, conversations, and tasks.
d. Lead the crew and orientation by being assertive and open-minded.
e. Respectfully navigate between the different levels of worker experience.
f. Watch out for straying conversation, workers on their phones, and inability to take orders.
g. Enforce the logic of the task and ensure what’s being explained is understood by the team member.
h. Be careful not to lose personal responsibility via group decision-making.
i. Watch out for assertive “deflectors, excuse makers, and fast talkers.”
4.5 Great collaboration is essential.
a. 1+1=3. Most times 2 people doing the work produces a better result than having one person work twice the amount of time. This applies to journeymen working together or with apprentices.
b. Too many cooks in the kitchen result in a waste of time and results suffering.
4.6 When you have alignment, cherish it.
a. If certain leaders and workers provide consistent results, capitalize on those partnerships, in office and on site.
4.7 If you find you can’t reconcile major differences—especially in values—consider whether the relationship is worth preserving.
5.1 Recognize that having an effective job-site/workplace culture requires that you understand the merit of each person’s ideas.
a. If you can’t do something, don’t tell others how it should be done.
b. Remember that everyone has opinions and they are often rooted in a lack of experience.
5.2 Find the most believable people possible who disagree with you and try to understand their reasoning.
a. Think about people’s believability in order to assess the likelihood that their opinions are good.
b. Remember that believable opinions are most likely to come from people
1) who have successfully accomplished the thing in question three times, have skills in said task, and
2) who have great explanations of the cause-effect relationships that lead them to their conclusions.
c. If someone hasn’t done something but has a theory that seems logical and can be stress-tested, then by all means test it and learn from it.
d. Don’t pay as much attention to people’s conclusions as to the reasoning that led them to their conclusions.
e. Inexperienced people can have great ideas too, sometimes far better ones than more experienced people.
f. Everyone should be up-front in expressing how confident they are in their thoughts.
5.3 Think about whether you are playing the role of a teacher, a student, or a peer and whether you should be teaching, asking questions, or debating.
a. It’s more important that the apprentice understand the journeyperson, than that the journeyperson understand the apprentice, though both are important, and safety supersedes all.
b. Recognize that while everyone has the right and responsibility to try to make sense of important things, they must do so with humility and radical open-mindedness.
5.4 Understand how people came by their opinions.
a. If you ask someone a question, they will probably give you an answer, so think through to whom you should address your questions.
b. Having everyone randomly probe everyone else is an unproductive waste of time.
c. Beware of statements that begin with “I think that . . .” This is where believability comes in. Don’t waste time.
d. Assess believability by systematically capturing people’s track records over time.
5.5 Disagreeing must be done efficiently.
a. Know when to stop debating and move on to agreeing about what should be done.
b. Since you don’t have the time to thoroughly examine everyone’s thinking yourself, choose your believable people wisely.
c. When you’re responsible for a decision, compare the believability, and stay open minded.
5.6 Recognize that everyone has the right and responsibility to try to make sense of important things.
a. Communications aimed at getting the best answer should involve the most relevant people.
b. Educating apprentices and journeypersons helps build long-term success for Southcan, though time restraints may factor in and push understanding the install behind. This should be reflected on after time sensitive issues are completed.
c. Recognize that you don’t need to make judgments about everything.
5.7 Pay more attention to whether the decision-making system is FAIR than whether you get your way.
6.1 Remember: Principles can’t be ignored by mutual agreement.
a. The same standards of behavior apply to all team members, foremen, owners, and apprentices.
6.2 Make sure people don’t confuse the right to voice concerns, give advice, and openly debate with the right to make decisions.
a. When challenging a decision and/or a decision maker, consider the broader context.
6.3 Don’t leave important conflicts unresolved.
a. Don’t let the little things divide you when your agreement on the big things should bind you.
b. Don’t get stuck in disagreement—escalate or vote!
6.4 Once a decision is made, everyone should get behind it even though individuals may still disagree.
a. See things from the higher level.
b. Never allow the culture to slip into anarchy. Enforce consequences when necessary.
6.5 Remember that if the culture comes into conflict with the well-being of the organization, it will inevitably suffer.
a. Be wary of people who argue for the suspension of the culture and principles for the “good of the organization.”
6.6 Recognize that if the people who have the power don’t want to operate by principles, the principled way of operating will fail.
TO GET THE PEOPLE AT SOUTHCAN RIGHT . . .
7.1 Recognize that the most important decision for you to make is who you choose as your Responsible Parties.
a. Understand that the most important Responsible Parties are those responsible for the goals, outcomes, and results at the highest levels.
7.2 Know that the ultimate Responsible Party will be the person who bears the consequences of what is done.
a. Make sure that everyone has someone they report to.
8.1 Match the person to the design.
a. Think through which values, abilities, and skills you are looking for (in that order).
b. Make finding the right people systematic and scientific.
c. Find the right fit between the role and the person.
d. Look for people who sparkle, not just “any ol’ one of those.”
e. Don’t use your pull to get someone a job.
8.2 Remember that people are built very differently and that different ways of seeing and thinking make people suitable for different jobs.
a. Understand how to use and interpret personality assessments.
b. Remember that people tend to pick people like themselves, so choose interviewers who can identify what you are looking for.
c. Look for people who are willing to look at themselves objectively.
d. Remember that people typically don’t change all that much.
8.3 Think of your teams the way that sports managers do: No one person possesses everything required to produce success, yet everyone must excel together as a system.
8.4 Pay attention to people’s track records.
a. Check references.
b. Recognize that performance in school doesn’t tell you much about whether a person has the values and abilities you are looking for.
c. While it’s best to have great conceptual thinkers, understand that great experience and a great track record also count for a lot.
d. Make sure your people have character and are capable.
e. Don’t assume that a person who has been successful at another electrical company will be successful in the job you’re giving them at Southcan.
8.5 Don’t hire people just to fit the first job they will do; hire people you want to share your life with.
a. Look for people who have lots of great questions.
b. Show candidates the objective truth about your business, good and bad.
c. Grow and learn with people with whom you are compatible but who will also challenge you.
8.6 When considering compensation, provide both stability and opportunity.
a. Pay for the person, not the job.
b. Have performance metrics tied at least loosely to compensation.
c. Pay north of fair.
d. Focus more on making the pie bigger than on exactly how to slice it so that you or anyone else gets the biggest piece.
8.7 Remember that in great partnerships, consideration and generosity are more important than money.
a. Be generous and expect generosity from others.
8.8 Great people are hard to find so make sure you think about how to keep them.
9.1 Understand that you and the people you manage will go through a process of personal evolution.
a. Recognize that personal evolution should be relatively rapid and a natural consequence of discovering one’s strengths and weaknesses; as a result, career paths are not planned at the outset.
b. Understand that training guides the process of personal evolution.
c. Teach your people to fish rather than give them fish, even if that means letting them make some mistakes.
d. Recognize that experience creates internalized learning that book learning can’t replace.
9.2 Provide constant feedback.
9.3 Evaluate accurately, not kindly.
a. In the end, accuracy and kindness are the same thing.
b. Put your compliments and criticisms in perspective.
c. Think about accuracy, not implications.
d. Make accurate assessments.
e. Learn from success as well as from failure.
f. Know that most everyone thinks that what they did, and what they are doing, is much more important than it really is.
9.4 Recognize that tough love is both the hardest and the most important type of love to give (because it is so rarely welcomed).
a. Recognize that while most people prefer compliments, accurate criticism is more valuable.
9.5 Don’t hide your observations about people.
a. Build up your synthesis from the specifics.
b. Have open-minded conversations with people that revolve around building.
c. Don’t over squeeze these conversations to a point of non-constructive negativity.
d. Use evaluation tools such as performance surveys, metrics, and formal reviews to document all aspects of a person’s performance. Plan for monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, or on-spot.
9.6 Make the process of learning what someone is like open, evolutionary, and iterative.
a. Make your assessment clear and impartial.
b. Encourage people to be objectively reflective about their performance.
c. Look at the whole picture.
d. For performance reviews, start from specific cases, look for patterns, and get in sync with the person being reviewed by looking at the evidence together.
e. Remember that when it comes to assessing people, the two biggest mistakes you can make are being overconfident in your assessment and failing to get in sync on it.
f. Get in sync on assessments in a nonhierarchical way.
g. Learn about your people and have them learn about you through frank conversations about mistakes and their root causes.
h. Understand that making sure people are doing a good job doesn’t require watching everything that everybody is doing at all times. Be able to trust them on their own but remind them that there is no tolerance for abusing that trust.
i. Recognize that change is difficult.
j. Help people through the pain that comes with exploring their weaknesses.
9.7 Knowing how people operate and being able to judge whether that way of operating will lead to good results is more important than knowing what they did.
a. If someone is doing their job poorly, consider whether it is due to inadequate learning or inadequate ability.
b. Training and testing a poor performer to see if they can acquire the required skills without simultaneously trying to assess their abilities is a common mistake.
9.8 Recognize that when you are really in sync with someone about their weaknesses, the weaknesses are probably true.
a. Evaluate employees with the same rigor as you evaluate job candidates.
b. It should take you no more than a year to learn what a person is like and whether they are a click for their job.
c. Continue assessing people throughout their tenure.
9.9 Train, guardrail, or remove people; don’t rehabilitate them.
a. Don’t collect people for the sake that they have been around forever, choose the most qualified people.
b. Be willing to “shoot the people you love” – if a person is polluting the environment, they must leave.
c. Be cautious about allowing people to step back to another role after failing.
9.10 Remember that the goal of a promotion is the highest use of the person that benefits the community as a whole.
a. Have people come to completion with their jobs, missions, and tasks before moving on to new roles.
9.11 Don’t lower the bar.
TO BUILD AND EVOLVE SOUTHCAN ELECTRIC LTD . . .
10.1 Look down on your machine and yourself within it from the higher level.
a. Constantly compare your outcomes to your goals.
b. Understand that a great boss/foreman is essentially an organizational engineer.
c. Build great standards.
d. Beware of paying too much attention to what is coming at you and not enough attention to your machine. Don’t get distracted.
10.2 Remember that for every case you deal with, your approach should have two purposes: 1) to move you closer to your goal, and 2) to train and test your machine (i.e., your people, work methods, and your design).
a. Everything is a case study and should be recorded for future reference.
b. When a problem occurs, conduct the discussion at two levels:
1) the machine level (why that outcome was produced) and
2) the case-at-hand level (what to do about it).
10.3 Understand the differences between managing, micromanaging, and not managing.
a. Managers must make sure that their responsibilities work well.
b. Managing the people who report to you should run smoothly.
c. An excellent journeyman is probably going to be a better coach than a novice.
d. You should be able to delegate the details.
10.4 Know what your people are like and what makes them tick, because your people are your most important resource.
a. Regularly take the temperature of each person who is important to you and to the organization.
b. Learn how much confidence to have in your people—don’t assume it.
c. Vary your involvement based on your confidence.
d. Have faith that your people will embody the culture and follow the principles while providing results. Discuss when your people are not confident, wastefully asking questions they know the answer to, and expect results from them.
10.5 Clearly assign responsibilities.
a. Remember who has what responsibilities.
b. Watch out for “job slip” and side tracking. It’s important to guide, but dangerous to be too inclusive in someone else’s responsibilities while neglecting your own.
10.6 Probe deep and hard to learn what you can expect from your machine.
a. Get a threshold level of understanding.
b. Avoid staying too distant.
c. Use daily updates as a tool for staying on top of what your people are doing and thinking.
d. Probe so you know whether problems are likely to occur before they actually do.
e. Probe to the level below the people who report to you.
f. Have the people who report to the people who report to you feel free to escalate their problems to you.
g. Don’t assume that people’s answers are correct.
h. Train your ear.
i. Make your probing transparent rather than private.
j. Welcome probing.
k. Remember that people who see things and think one way often have difficulty communicating with and relating to people who see things and think another way.
l. Pull all suspicious threads, investigate deeply.
m. Recognize that there are many ways to solve a problem.
10.7 Think like an owner, and expect the people you work with to do the same.
a. Going on vacation doesn’t mean one can neglect one’s responsibilities.
b. Force yourself and the people who work for you to do difficult things. Stress = Growth.
10.9 Don’t treat everyone the same—treat them appropriately.
a. Don’t let yourself get squeezed by others, don’t overwork yourself to the point of bad decision-making.
b. Care about the people who work for you while also maintaining your expectations.
10.10 Know that great leadership is generally not what it’s made out to be.
a. Be weak and strong at the same time.
b. Don’t worry about whether or not your people like you and don’t look to them to tell you what you should do.
c. Don’t give orders and try to be followed; try to be understood and to understand others by getting in sync.
10.11 Hold yourself and your people accountable and appreciate them for holding you accountable.
a. If you’ve agreed with someone that something is supposed to go a certain way, make sure it goes that way—unless you get in sync about doing it differently.
b. Distinguish between a failure in which someone broke their “contract” and a failure in which there was no contract to begin with. Make expectations and goals clear and hold accountability.
c. Avoid getting sucked down.
d. Watch out for people who confuse goals and tasks, because if they can’t make that distinction, you can’t trust them with responsibilities.
e. Watch out for the unfocused and unproductive “theoretical should.” This wastes time unless it’s used as a serious documented learning experience.
10.12 Communicate the plan clearly and have clear rules conveying whether you are progressing.
a. Put things in perspective by going back before going forward.
10.13 Escalate when you can’t adequately handle your responsibilities and make sure that the people who work for you are proactive about doing the same
11.1 Don’t assume everything is running smoothly, double check and make sure.
11.2 Design and oversee a machine to perceive whether things are good enough or not good enough or do it yourself.
a. Assign people the job of perceiving problems, give them time to investigate, and make sure they have independent reporting lines so that they can convey problems without any fear of recrimination.
b. Watch out for the “Frog in the Boiling Water Syndrome,” where people slowly get accustomed to a developing problem.
c. Beware of groupthink; the fact that no one seems concerned doesn’t mean nothing is wrong.
d. To perceive problems, compare how the outcomes are aligning with your goals.
e. Have as many eyes looking for problems as possible.
11.3 Be very specific about problems; don’t start with generalizations.
a. Avoid the anonymous “we” and “they,” because they mask personal responsibility.
11.4 Don’t be afraid to fix the difficult things.
a. Understand that problems with good, planned solutions in place are completely different from those without such solutions.
12.1 To diagnose well, ask the following questions: 1) Is the outcome good or bad? 2) Who is responsible for the outcome? 3) If the outcome is bad, is the Responsible Party incapable and/or is the design bad?
a. Ask yourself, “who should do what differently?”
b. Identify at which step the failure occurred.
c. Identify the principles that were violated.
d. To distinguish between a capacity issue and a capability issue, imagine how the person would perform at that particular function if they had ample capacity.
e. Don’t confuse the quality of someone’s circumstances with the quality of their approach to dealing with the
f. Identifying the fact that someone else doesn’t know what to do doesn’t mean that you know what to do.
g. Remember that a root cause is not an action but a reason.
12.2 Maintain an emerging synthesis by diagnosing continuously.
12.3 Keep in mind that diagnoses should produce outcomes.
a. Remember that if you have the same people doing the same things, you should expect the same results.
12.4 Understand that diagnosis is foundational to both progress and quality relationships.
13.5 Build the organization around goals rather than tasks.
a. Build your organization from the bottom up.
b. Remember that everyone must be overseen by a believable person who has high standards.
c. Make sure the people at the top of each pyramid have the skills and focus to manage their direct reports and a deep understanding of their jobs.
d. In designing your organization, remember that different people are good at different roles.
e. Don’t build the organization to fit the people, the job/position comes first and then you find the right person.
f. Keep scale in mind.
h. Make leaders as self-sufficient as possible so that they have control over the resources they need to achieve their goals.
i. Ensure that the ratios of senior managers to foreman and of foreman to their reports are limited to preserve communication and understanding.
j. Use consultants wisely.
13.6 Create an organizational chart that demonstrates order.
13.7 Create guardrails when needed—and remember it’s better not to guardrail at all.
a. Don’t expect people to recognize and compensate for their own blind spots.
13.8 Keep your strategic vision the same while making appropriate tactical changes as circumstances dictate.
a. Don’t put the expedient ahead of the strategic.
b. Think about both the big picture and the granular details and understand the connections between them.
13.9 Have good controls so that you are not exposed to the dishonesty of others.
a. Investigate and let people know you are going to investigate.
b. Remember that there is no sense in having laws unless you they are going to be actively upheld.
c. Recognize that people who make purchases on your behalf might not spend your money wisely.
13.10 Remember that almost everything will take more time and cost more money than you expect.
14.1 Work for goals that you and your organization are excited about and think about how your tasks connect to those goals.
a. Be coordinated and consistent in motivating others.
b. Don’t act before thinking. Take the time to come up with a game plan.
c. Look for creative, cut-through solutions.
14.2 Recognize that everyone has too much to do.
a. Don’t get frustrated.
14.3 Use checklists.
a. Don’t confuse checklists with personal responsibility. Just because something isn’t on the checklist doesn’t mean you don’t have more tasks to do.
14.4 Allow time for rest and renovation.
15.1 Having principles embedded in work methods is especially valuable for the operation of jobs and safety.
a. To produce real behavioral change, understand that there must be internalized learning.
b. Collect data and process it into conclusions and actions.
c. Foster an environment of confidence and fairness.
16.1 To be successful, all organizations must have checks and balances.
a. Even in an ideal Southcan Electric culture, merit cannot be the only determining factor in assigning responsibility and authority.
b. Make sure that no one is more powerful than the system or so important that they are irreplaceable.
c. Beware of fiefdoms.
d. Make clear that the organization’s structure and rules are designed to ensure that its checks-and-balances system functions well.
e. Make sure reports and decisions are clear.
f. Recognize that decision makers must have access to the information necessary to make decisions and must be trustworthy enough to handle that information safely.
g. Make sure that the people doing the assessing 1) have the time to be fully informed about who/what they are assessing, 2) have the ability to make the assessments, and 3) are not in a conflict of interest that stands in the way of carrying out oversight effectively.
16.2 Remember that in a successful electrical company a single CEO is not as good as a great group of leaders.
16.3 No governance system of principles, rules, and checks and balances can substitute for a great partnership.