Posted on: 01-28-2011 at 12:59pm
Posted by Senior Managing Director – National Expansion Pierre Koshakji
This little thing that we like to call “The Stream Experiment” has been going strong now for six years. During that time, we have achieved an astounding level of growth in the energy industry and have catapulted from just a few guys with laptop computers and BIG ambitions to one of the largest retail energy providers in Texas.
How did we do it?
There are many ways to answer that. One thing that may not be obvious to someone looking in from the outside, however, is what I would have to characterize as perhaps the most unique work environment in my professional career.
My favorite thing about Stream Energy is living up to the culture we established. This firm was started as a place and culture that fosters and encourages individuals to create great things from vision and drive. It works optimally when everyone collectively believes and gets involved.
The way we’ve done that and continue to do that is through a set of principles that were formulated by Stream Energy Chairman Rob Snyder called The Four Mantras:
- Be transparent – be fair and equitable in all your dealings with customers, employees and Associates. And if you make a mistake, own it and ask for help.
- Take out the panic – naturally, panic is many times the first reaction to a new challenge. So remove it from the equation so you can focus clearly on the task at hand.
- Work the problem – A challenge won’t resolve itself or simply go away. Buckle down, attack it head on, and again don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Best idea wins – Encourage creative thinking from everyone. No one has a monopoly on good ideas; they can come from anyone on the team. Put egos aside and choose the course of action that’s best for the team and our customers.
Now, we have an unspoken fifth mantra – Wash some feet. This one goes to the heart of what we aspire to be as an organization – namely, a team of servant leaders. When we put the needs and cares of other people before our own self interests, it is amazing what we accomplish. Time and again I am struck by stories in our office and out in our Ignite sales field of individuals who go above and beyond to help someone in need.
The Four Mantras (plus One) really provide a sense of direction to our firm. Our employees know that we are trying to do something more noteworthy than simply drive the bottom line – we’re imbuing our efforts with purpose, with a zeal for improving our interactions with each other and providing our customers the best possible experience.
I give Rob Snyder lots of credit for creating the Mantras, because they all build on each other in simple yet interdependent fashion. They really do. Each one is important. Also, they all funnel down to treating others as you would like to be treated. In addition, if you have a HEALTHY respect for yourself, you will most likely have a healthy respect for others.
We’ve been asking our employees their thoughts on the Mantras, and I’d like to share some of the comments they came back with.
Of the Stream Energy Mantras, which one is your favorite and why?
I like Best Idea Wins. It lets everyone know they are being heard and that they have a voice in the firm, no matter what position they hold. – Gretchen Stealey, Associate Support Representative
Wash Some Feet would be the most relevant to me because I have always been taught to treat others the way you wish to be treated. I am no better than anyone else, and I am always learning new things from the people around me. I can’t imagine refusing a task because I felt it was beneath me to help out another person. – Allison Johnston, Commercial Sales Executive
Be Transparent. I think everything else works itself out. Working the same problem in parallel paths and not sharing information is doing double the work. I think transparency is the best thing. If people are transparent and share information, the efficiency level goes up. – Mike Rowley, Director of Market Research
Wash Some Feet. Be kind to everyone around you. – Karina Moreno, Customer Loyalty Analyst
I like Best Idea Wins because it challenges the mind and keeps people excited about coming to work. – Tommy Hall, Commercial Client Services
I like Wash Some Feet. I think everyone at Stream Energy really wants to take care of each other. – Jim Rafferty, Associate Support Representative
It’s a tie between Best Idea Wins and Wash Some Feet. I’d give the same advice to a Stream Energy veteran that I’d give someone new. We, as a group, need to listen to the team. The leadership team looks to the employee family to step up, be vocal and be the creative minds we know them to be. From my perspective, servant leadership is about clearing obstacles so our teams can look behind them and be proud of the path they left behind. – Matt McGaughey, Managing Director – Information Technology
Wash Some Feet, because it’s most important to lead by example. – Mike Jones, Senior Manager of Associate Support
I really like Be Transparent because in the type of environment and markets we are in, you have to be ready for challenges. You have to be transparent in your work to make sure everything gets done. – John Viquez, Manager of Treasury Remittance
Wash Some Feet because I love the Christian undertone. I consider myself a leader but my style is servant leadership so it resonates with me. It’s all about the other people and making life better for other folks, making them happy, and trying to help out and make the little things easier, so, I love Wash Some Feet. – Greg Martin, Director of New Market Implementation
I really like Take Out the Panic and Be Transparent. However, I think my favorite is Wash Some Feet because I really believe in that. I think it’s a critical part for a good team to work well with each other. – George Nemer, Director of IT Infrastructure Operations
The fifth Mantra (Wash Some Feet) is the one that resonates with me the most because it demands our attention to serving and supporting each other on a daily basis. – Deanna Shelton, Senior Director of Human Resources