More Than a Mission Statement: How Our Core Goals Influence Our Culture
By: Melissa Berry
From our inception, founder Preston Herrington established Continental Underwriters, Inc. with the mindset of building a team that not only knows the wood products industry in and out, but doing so with people who care deeply, and give back – with colleagues, clients and in our community. We try to live that daily in our quality of work by doing things the right way, which is not always the easy way, and through the passion we demonstrate in our interactions with industry partners and our customers.
How we behave
Perhaps most fundamental to our overall approach is the way our team carries themselves. Most organizations list a set of values. For us, we live a certain set of behaviors that we refer to as The We Proposition. The We Proposition speaks to what we care about – our people (and their families), our clients and the industry; the things we value; and the standards we set for ourselves around continuous improvement.
Our team relationships are foundational for building thriving connections with our customers, and so we’re laser focused on creating an enriching culture that then spills into the various aspects of our employees’ lives. When we bring a new team member into the fold, we share a copy of The Go-Giver, which is a sales parable that gets to the heart of putting clients’ needs first, versus chasing a quick (and perhaps risky) sale.
One of the clearest illustrations of this mentality is our Risk Assessment team and the role they play both in informing our underwriting team, but also in educating our end customer. Corey Bounds and his team are out in the field throughout the year, working with wood products industry manufacturing operators and managers to identify areas of risk and develop preventative systems to mitigate them.
After seeing the benefit of these assessments, several client organizations have asked for Corey to consult on new sawmill openings. Corey typically begins during the early planning stages, providing feedback on protective systems and preventative programs. Later in the process, he oftentimes will lead safety meetings and hot work trainings for new employees. Through those projects, and others like them, we ingrain ourselves as part of the team, as a true trusted advisor. It’s not what most would describe as the easy work in our industry, but it’s certainly the most fulfilling.
Our Path Forward
Our growth mindset means that we’re constantly iterating on how to improve our process and meet the evolving needs of our industry. Our team is hard at work establishing relationships across hard and soft wood groups and associations to help unite our industry around a common good that serves our clients and our organizational mission.
Over the coming months, you’ll start seeing several educational pieces – from best practices around preventative maintenance for your sprinkler system to tips to improve your bottom line – that we hope will demonstrate our expertise, but more importantly, provide mission critical advice to mitigate potential risks and future losses. Because while part of our why is our continued dedication to the wood products industry, our ultimate motivation is our commitment to serve you.