Since leaving Stewart Title in April, I’ve had time to reflect on the type of company, specifically the type of title company, I want to work for and dedicate my time to.  I’ve managed title or technology companies since 1982 and over that time have come to some conclusions about what makes a company successful over the long term… and what not to do.  For starters, I think it’s interesting how many companies, not just title companies but all companies, spend so much time and energy claiming that their employees are their most important asset yet the company seems not to know or care about individuals and their specific contributions to the success of the company.  Employees are too often treated as interchangeable pieces on a playing board.  History, knowledge, skills, wisdom and relationships with other employees and customers seem not to matter when important decisions are made.

If a company actually values employees as their most important asset, then some logical conclusions flow from that belief, such as:

  • Training and tools – a company that values employees will provide the tools, software or otherwise, needed to do the job and provide all the training necessary for employees to succeed and progress.  Many employees want the opportunity to improve and be promoted but need access to effective training that actually helps them improve.
  • Your work family – we are around our fellow employees often more than our actual family and personal friends.  It’s only natural to know and care about each other’s families, marriages, births, graduations, successes, failures, needs, friends and everything else that makes us “family”. Caring about each other and helping each other is what builds strong bonds of trust which builds strong companies.  Companies should celebrate and support the “work family”.  The leaders of the company should invest time and energy in getting to know and understand the extended work family. It’s an investment that pays the biggest dividend.
  • Trust – and it really amazes me to see companies hire employees with years of experience and training and then micro-manage them to where employees have no room to do what’s right for customers or make decisions that would help improve the company.  There’s an important role for policies, procedures and audit but it’s equally important to strike a balance that allows employees to excel and be creative in how they achieve the company and personal goals.

I’m building a Texas-based title company that actually values employees, instead of giving false promises of caring.  A company that has the tools, support, leadership and innovation that lets employees be successful and proud of their company.  A key indicator that a company is achieving these goals is when you see employees naturally reaching out to each other to encourage and support each other’s success and personal needs.  When a leader sees this happening, they know the company is healthy and progressing.  That’s one of the many goals of Texas National Title.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll explore other areas of what makes companies successful and what good leaders need to do to achieve this goal.