The last two years at Intuit have brought tumultuous, deep-seated changes. But in periods of transformation, what stays the same? "Values," says Scott Cook. "The best companies stand for something. In our case, it is to do right by the customer."
In 1993, Intuit identified a set of values that describes how it operates and what makes it different. Lots of companies have values statements, of course. But few are as plain-spoken or heartfelt as Intuit's. Here are excerpts from its 10 core values.
1. Integrity Without Compromise: Having integrity means more to us than simply the absence of deception. It means we are completely forthright in all our dealings. We say what needs to be said, not simply what people want to hear.
2. Do Right by All Our Customers: Doing right means acting with the best interests of the other party in mind. An important word in this phrase is "all" - it includes every relationship at Intuit. We treat each other, our business partners, and our shareholders with the same care and respect with which we treat our customers.
3. It's the People: We have great people who want to do well, who are capable of doing great things, and who come to work fired up to achieve them. Great people flourish in an environment that liberates and amplifies their energy.
4. Seek the Best: We seek the best in two ways: We cast wide nets to find the best people to hire and the best ideas to adopt, and we base decisions regarding them on facts.
5. Continually Improve Processes: How do we know if a process needs improving? The answer is: It always does. We can always get better. We strive continually to improve our processes, to help people do their jobs better, and to produce higher quality at lower cost.
6. Speak, Listen, and Respond: Managers at Intuit have a responsibility to create an environment that encourages people to speak openly, knowing they will be listened to when they do. Listening, however, is only a first step. It's also key to respond - if not through direct action, then through acknowledgment or feedback.
7. Teams Work: Teamwork means focusing on the team's success, realizing that ultimately the team's success is your success. It also means that you succeed by helping other members of the team to succeed. The result? Decisions that are not "mine" or "yours" - but, rather, better solutions.
8. Customers Define Quality: Part of adapting to changing customer needs and desires is knowing what our customers want. Intuit has triumphed in part because we actively solicit input from our customers.
9. Think Fast, Move Fast: Customers want to benefit from our great ideas sooner - not later. So do we. Moving fast enables us to learn and to make better decisions over time. That's because the best learning comes from trying out more things in the real world.
10. We Care and Give Back: We believe that with our success comes the responsibility to give back to our community. We seek to contribute to our community in ways that reflect broadly held values, have meaningful impact, draw on our unique strengths as a corporation, and, whenever possible, reinforce our business objectives.
A version of this article appeared in the October 1998 issue of Fast Company magazine.