I’m Jim Broom, the CEO of Direct Capital. I joined DCC when it was a fledgling start-up 19 years ago. My brother had the vision to fund small businesses, an idea that was so on the mark that we are still at it nearly two decades later.
The funny thing is, I still think of Direct Capital as a start-up, with a few differences. We have a huge list of things that didn’t work – many that might have, thanks to our fantastic group of people that operate as an ever-improving team – but the timing was just a little off.
As CEO, I believe there is much I can influence – one of those things is my attitude, which can be a mountain to climb in and of itself. The benefits of fostering what I call an attitude of gratitude are far-reaching, and when I can help foster that attitude within our company and unleash the collective power of a group with this disposition, great things always happen.
I believe the same thing is true for every small business in America. Here’s how we bring an attitude of gratitude to Direct Capital, and how you can too at your small business:
Charity: One of the biggest drivers of our corporate attitude has been our charitable efforts. Great philosophers going back as far as Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas explored human behavior and the ability to reason, and in their writings they lay out very clear ideas that define true friendship and motivation. At Direct Capital, we’ve tapped into this by creating an environment that allows people to participate in weekly charitable activities through Friday’s Denim for Dollars. Employees can wear jeans to work, but they are asked to donate to our weekly charity or donate to Toys for Tots during the holiday season. The outpouring of charity that our employees have shown has been overwhelming and what we have accomplished has really brought our team together.
Communication: We have a company meeting every month to review prior months’ results, our upcoming featured Core Value of the month and any special news and events that are worth talking about, which also includes our charitable efforts. Consistent communication around consistent themes is essential to fostering teamwork and trust within our company, and really every company. Recognizing individuals and groups that have demonstrated our corporate values helps our team see examples of our values in action.
When I look back, I think everyone is impressed with what we’ve achieved over time, and I couldn’t possibly recommend charitable efforts more for small businesses. If you’re charitable, you’re acting with humility. If you’re being humble, you’re more open to others. If you’re more open to others, then you are more committed to understanding them, and therein lies the magical power to make the right and prudent decisions with everyone from employees to customers.
Think about that for a minute.
Doesn’t every company hope that its employees will bring the right decisions into action? You bet! Especially if you can wrap a little fun around it from time to time. There are always areas of improvement at businesses like ours and yours, and much of it comes down to communication and problem solving. If your customer service team believes in what your company preaches, then they are better at solving a customer’s problem, even if one of the team members up stream made a mistake.
It’s not about being perfect—because who is?—but it is about continued improvement and this rolls back to attitude. One can’t help thinking he is fortunate when he is helping someone else that is less fortunate in some way. For us and for so many small businesses like us, charity is a driver of positive attitude.
Our company has grown 18 of our 19 years in business and we’ve grown an average 47% annually the last three years with virtually the same headcount. I can’t say it’s all due to an attitude of gratitude, but I can tell you how grateful I am that we’ve achieved these results. This attitude actually leads to another important topic for small businesses, namely, innovation. That will have to wait for another article.
Thank you for reading and I wish you the best this holiday season and a very Merry Christmas!
Photo credit to iStock