What Makes a Great Company Great?

MaxKopsho 0710

MaxKopsho-0710This is my last week at Kramer Electronics. To say the least, it is filled with mixed emotions. I am very excited about the next phase in my career and the great things that I get to be a part of at Atlanta Soundworks. I am happy that I get to join the ASW team because this is a team known for great service and extremely high quality in all of their projects. At the same time I am sad to leave the people I know and love at Kramer. Parting Kramer will be with such sweet sorrow (I should know…this is the second time I’ve done it and of course is has to be the last time — there is no going back after this one…).

I have decided that this week’s blog will be to share why I believe Kramer is such a great company. Who knows, you may find some attributes that you may want to focus on building into your organization. I believe there are five key areas that make Kramer the great company it is. These five areas are: knowledge, skill, attitude, genuine care factor and a great team spirit. Last week I shared what a great leader Kramer has, now I want to share what a great team he has built. Try to look at this piece as more than a commercial for Kramer and see it as a case study and some insights as to how your company can improve in some areas.

Each of the areas where Kramer proves their leadership and character is recognizable and repeatable in any organization. The first three are easily identifiable and they relate to Steven Covey’s Habits of Highly Effective People. Oddly enough they aren’t one of the seven habits. I found these traits at the beginning of the book where Covey defines what a habit is: “The intersection of knowledge, skill, and desire. Knowledge is the theoretical paradigm, the what to do and the why. Skill is the how to do. And (attitude) desire is the motivation, the want to do. In order to make something a habit in our lives, we have to have all three.” When I was the national trainer for Kramer I started a campaign I simply called “ASK Kramer,” because even back then I saw that attitude, skill and knowledge were Kramer’s watchwords. Ever true today as it was then Kramer people, through an almost contagious way, have the attitude, skill and knowledge to be the great company they are.

Attitude: Kramer’s collective attitude is one of ambition and drive. The drive is to solve their customer’s problems (they continually strive to “do the right thing”) and their ambition is be honest and helpful partners in all they do.

Skill: The skills the people at Kramer have are unmatched in the industry; they don’t just sell products, they solve problems and truly partner with their integration partners. Each salesperson is an industry veteran, technically savvy and industry certified. Kramer doesn’t just put another pretty face in front of you (although everyone there is a good looker), they make sure each person in each meeting adds value to the relationship and that everyone contributes to the company and their partners.

Kramer people know what they are doing. The engineering and field support team excels at being incredibly knowledgeable in current and emerging technology and applications. The technical support team has a great blend of awesome customer service and technical guru-ness.

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The last two of the five characteristics have to do with the collective personality of the organization. These characteristics are the family spirit and the genuine desire to do good things and make a difference in their world (as individuals and as a company). These are highlighted when Kramer takes up a charitable cause. For me personally Kramer has helped me to raise thousands of dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. But, it goes beyond charity. Kramer (as a collective) has the desire to do great things in our industry.

Kramer is a family. Each person at Kramer is a valued contributor and is appreciated for their uniqueness and own way about them. Just like any family, we have the crazy uncles (or a few of them – including myself), the strict aunt, the reserved cousins and so on. We have the full spectrum of personalities in Kramer, but the overarching character is of genuine care. Kramer people care for each other, support each other and care for and support their customers. In most businesses people say, “it isn’t personal, it’s just business,” but at Kramer there is very little separation. Business is personal, and why not? Kramer has many partners (ASW included) where the business is a family one and it is personal.

Lastly, Kramer cares. Kramer is a company based on a spirit to do good things. Dr. Kramer states in the company’s mission statement “…to provide and uncompromising level of service…” I believe this comes through in almost every communication and interaction between Kramer people and their partners (customers). This is something you can’t fake. You either care or you don’t and Kramer does a great job of making everyone in the organization want to care about what they do.

I just hope that I am able to bring what I have learned from this great company on to my next big thing. In closing I want to tell everyone at Kramer: I will miss you all and I will always consider myself “part of the family.” Thank you to each and every person at Kramer for making me a better person.