we believe that our long-term success depends as much on our corporate
culture as our technology. Corporate culture is a way of describing
our organization's values and how it determines what is "the
right thing to do" relative to both clients and employees.
All companies have a spirit that defines them. Pro-Found's dynamic
spirit is based upon integrity and serves as our greatest asset.
. . A consultant is a person who takes your money and annoys your
employees while tirelessly searching for the best way to extend
the consulting contract. Recommendations must be justified by
a lengthy analysis . . . cleverly designed to be as confusing
as possible, thus discouraging any second-guessing by sniping
staff members who are afraid of appearing dense. Consultants will
ultimately recommend that you do whatever you're not doing now.
Centralize whatever is decentralized. Flatten whatever is vertical.
. . ."
Adams - The Dilbert Principle
The above excerpt
from the "Dilbert Principle" by Scott Adams depicts, with biting
cynicism, the classic conflict-of-interest between service providers
and their clients. In contrast, Pro-Found's business model is designed
to avoid even the appearance of conflict-of-interest and strives
for win-win situations. Clients, just like employees, are treated
as partners striving for mutual benefit.
Unlike the conventional
practice of charging clients on a time and material basis, Pro-Found
prefers fixed-price contracts. Although potentially riskier for
us, it avoids the syndrome of "the slower we are and the more missteps
we take, the more you pay." With fixed-price contracts, the focus
is on value delivered not hours spent.
practice is to correct Pro-Found software defects forever for free.
Many software firms are "sloppy" in their initial creation and then
add insult to injury by charging clients a software maintenance
fee for help in getting around or fixing the problems. In contrast,
we take a craftman's pride in our work which we design to be as
robust and bulletproof as possible. Software, unlike physical machinery,
does not wear out over time. Therefore, if we inadvertently introduced
a defect, we feel ethically compelled to fix it without charge.
component-based approach is also consistent with our client empowering
culture. We reject the notion that clients must adopt today's new
technology in an all-or-nothing manner forcing wholesale abandonment
of previous investments. As today's technologies become tomorrow's
legacies, such a notion leads to a never-ending cycle of gut-wrenching
fits and starts. In contrast, Pro-Found's component-based technology
allows coexistence between old and new technologies and allows clients
to evolve to newer technologies on their own timetable, not that
of the consultant. Artificial dependency on consultants is greatly
succeed when they adapt quickly and easily to new market conditions.
. . . The source of this flexibility is the ability of the people
inside the organization to grow and change, to take on new challenges,
to cultivate new behavior, to entertain new ideas. . . ."
James - Upside, Nov. 1996
This quote clearly
articulates one of our most Pro-Found beliefs -- Corporate growth
and personal / career growth are inseparable. Acting on this belief,
we regard employees as more than just resources. We regard employees
resources, a view held by many organizations, implies that people
are good for the skills they have right now. Exploit those skills,
use up the resources, and replace as needed. To optimize the use
of human resources, many organizations create elaborate sets of
rules and regulations to control employee behavior. In response,
employees learn to resent management and spend their time "beating
the system" rather than engaging in productive work. Organizations
partners implies collaboration and mutual growth. At Pro-Found,
we find people who demonstrate an ability and desire to learn. We
encourage employees to adopt the learning style of a curious child
who is unafraid to ask basic questions, to experiment and even to
make mistakes. We provide tools and training and then we demand
excellence and growth through constant improvement. The skills we
possess today are important, but the skills we are capable of acquiring
in the future are even more important.
is hard work and potentially stressful. But this work is positive.
Employees will excel because they truly enjoy contributing to their
own success and the success of their colleagues. And Pro-Found will
excel along with them.