We value our clients and our clients consist of Government customers, business partners, and each other. Hopefully, it goes without saying that we would not be here without our Government customers and business partners, and we could not get our jobs done without each other. We cherish each of these constituencies, treat them with the utmost respect, and actively seek to impress them with our willingness to go the extra mile. Our clients are not perfect and can frustrate us on occasion. We rise above those frustrations and remain focused on the big picture – they are the reason we are here.
To this end, we have institutionalized client satisfaction surveys of our external constituencies. Not the kind that you fill out and mail in, but an active dialog with clients about what we are doing right and what we can improve on. We focus on the positive. In managers’ meetings we take turns talking about the positive attributes of our clients and do not dwell on shortcomings. We are not self-delusional, but we see nothing to be gained from client bashing.
We are ever mindful that we must treat each other as valued clients, and do not take each other for granted. We strive to ensure that the Exeter team is in fact a team. We believe that if a person treats his internal customers well, they will act accordingly with external customers.
We value each other as internal clients, but we also respect each individual. There is no yelling, no threatening, and no bullying at Exeter. We are professionals and we do not consider that behavior professional. Our management philosophy is collaborative and not directive. Supervisors should remove obstacles and facilitate success. They should not “lay down the law,” and we do not ridicule each other.
We actively seek to cultivate each employee and help them grow, and we address the basics through competitive pay and benefits. We seek to achieve higher margins on our work so we can reward our employees. We seek to grow our business so we can provide challenging opportunities for our employees. We value education and training and will help our employees achieve their objectives in this regard.
We vigorously seek to employ veterans and assist reservists in the fulfillment of their responsibilities. We recognize and honor their service to our country. We work hand-in-hand with employees in the reserves to accommodate their schedules and provide for military leave.
The executive team feels a sense of responsibility to every employee. We appreciate and respect the decision each person makes by joining Exeter. Each employee has made a decision to cast their future and immediate livelihood with Exeter (whether they think about it in these terms or not). The executive team does not take this responsibility lightly and bears the burden to ensure that the business is successful and thrives.
Humor and having a good time are part of our culture. In the discussions that led to the formation of Exeter, ensuring that work is an enjoyable place to go was one of the first objectives identified for the new company. We do not wear clown costumes in the office, but we know that humor relieves stress and improves productivity. We want people to look forward to coming to work in the morning. This does not mean we are frivolous; we are very serious most of the time, but we lighten up when we can.
Communication, Access, and Openness
We believe in communicating the status of the company and its performance on a regular basis. The company is privately held, but that does not mean it needs to be secretive. We share financial and marketing data in All Hands meetings. We summarize the results of annual planning meetings and share that information with all employees. We publish our ten Must Do’s for each year. There is no secret agenda.
The executive management team is always willing to listen. Their doors are always open (literally) and their phone numbers and email addresses are available to every employee. The executive team eats lunch with the staff, goes to employee sponsored social events, and generally tries to touch base with people as frequently as possible. They are not hidden on mahogany row with a watchdog personal assistant running interference – and it will always be that way.
Every supervisor within the company should adhere to these precepts.
Fiscally Responsible and Ethically Conservative
We are not miserly with our money, but we are prudent. We will occasionally order steak, but we will show up for the early bird special when we can. We take advantage of being privately held and take the long-term view. If an investment makes strategic sense, we are likely to go for it even if it has an immediate negative impact on the bottom line. But we will not make that kind of decision every day such that we mortgage the company’s future. And we keep a meticulous accounting of every nickel.
No one wants to read about themselves in the newspaper – that would not make their mothers proud, so we know the rules well and follow them. More important than following the rules, however, we know the difference between right and wrong, and we pride ourselves in doing the right thing. Our moral compass is finely tuned.
We all have a role to play in growing Exeter’s business. By doing a superior job for our clients every day, we support Exeter’s business development efforts. But beyond that, we value those that are attuned to new business opportunities and participate in bringing those opportunities to fruition. We reward those that make a difference.
We put ourselves in a position to create opportunities and then capture those opportunities. This is the lifeblood of Exeter’s growth strategy and means that each employee is a member of the sales force.
We also are very disciplined in our business development efforts – we know who we are, what we are capable of, and where we want to do business – we are focused. And we stick to our focused plan and do not chase butterflies. However, we have the experience to take a close look at opportunities outside our targets, make good judgments, and pursue them enthusiastically.
Self-Imposed High Expectations
We do not want to be average or even good – we want to be superior. We set our goals high and we measure how we perform against those goals. This is reflected in the key factors that we assess every month that gauge our performance in a whole range of activities. But more important is the personal drive of every employee to do the best that they can day in and day out. The unspoken knowledge that even a job well done was a missed opportunity to do an excellent job permeates the organization.
We are confident of our intellectual prowess and we can put together a Jeopardy team that will outclass the competition. But we are not smug and we have common sense. We understand that a big brain can be nothing more than a novelty if it does not facilitate the accomplishment of concrete objectives. We encourage and challenge each other to get even smarter.
This is Exeter’s culture and we strive to promote it throughout every facet of our day-to-day work efforts. This culture is not just a bunch of words, but the framework of our corporate personality. This personality is what we want each employee and client to feel about the company and is what makes Exeter tick.