Our great purpose, articulated in our mission of enabling individuals (our people, clients, and communities) to achieve their highest potentials, naturally draws us to our own user-centered design.
User-centered design crafts a product to fit the individual’s purpose, rather than requiring the individual to change their behavior to fit the product. Most firms are intentionally designed to create wealth for their owners. Employees are resources utilized for the organization’s purpose, rather than an organization designed for the employee’s purpose. Humans are inherently good. Managers are human, so most companies try to care for their people. The media gushes about tech firms with perk-filled environments with on-premise masseuses, free dry cleaning and private chefs where the basic needs of the employee are seemingly sated. These firms intend to increase resource utilization, not grow people, incentivizing the individual at the lowest level in their hierarchy of needs by designing a hedonistic nirvana.
Our design is different. Our Fin is the center of our design because they can, and have a need to, achieve their highest potential. Everything we do is viewed through this lens. This is not a question of what does each Fin want, rather it is what each and every Fin needs to achieve their highest potential. We integrate the needs of the owner with the needs of the Fin through our employee stock ownership program. We meet Fins’ basic needs through fair pay and their need for safety by living our core values and practicing clear transparency. We create the opportunity for the Fin to experience as much as they can on the job by organizing into small teams they can belong to. We encourage and teach Fins how to grow their own healthy self-esteem in a number of ways. We map the path for the Fin to fulfill their needs of self-actualization and self-transcendence through our Expectations Framework. This is how we take our Fin to the upper edge of self-actualization.
Continuous learning and experimenting to understand the needs of the individual are the hallmarks of user-centered design. Since our inception we’ve been asking questions, and building and testing new features to meet our Fin’s needs. We are blazing new trails into the unknown as we seek answers to accelerated learning and the path to our fullest individual and collective potentials.
Being a user-centric organization is not enough without each of us personally committing to contribute our own part, working together so each of us achieves our fullest potential. While our organization can provide tools, training and opportunities, it requires maturity on each of our parts to acknowledge we don’t know everything and seek to understand each other through constructive dialogue. We can all embrace our own user-centric effort by learning to be comfortable with not knowing, asking questions and respecting each and every person as humans. When we as individuals and an organization do our parts, the synergies generate a wave of success for all our Fins, clients and communities to ride. This is the power and goodness of our purpose in the world.
Bruce Ballengee, CEO