“A Time To Reflect – Be The Beacon That Illuminates The Path” served as the theme of the 9th Andesa Client Forum. The theme also inspired my conference-concluding presentation entitled Mirror, Mirror. In what has become a tradition of Andesa’s Client Forums, I delivered my remarks in costume; this time in the attire of the early 1800’s, paying tribute to the 205th anniversary of “The Defense of Fort McHenry” in nearby Baltimore harbor.
In sharing Andesa’s direction with our clients, I examined our company through the perspective of the Seven Evergreen Principles from a look-back, reflecting in a mirror, perspective.
What are the Seven Evergreen Principles? They are a series of principles released at the launch of the Tugboat Institute that are the seven defining characteristics of evergreen companies, i.e., companies built to grow profitably and privately for a lifetime, or longer.
I have been fortunate to have a Board that invests in my personal growth through participation in the Tugboat Institute. Tugboat offers the opportunity to engage with like-minded business leaders to learn and share around the Seven Principles of the Evergreen movement. As we build Andesa Forever, the opportunity to learn best practices and gain hard-earned wisdom from others has proven invaluable to me.
In Part One of this Blog, I’ll discuss how these principles guide Andesa’s future like a lighthouse reflects the light and the pathway forward. In Part Two, I’ll examine how Andesa incorporates the Seven Evergreen Principles into its strategy, both in its past and future operations.
Principle 1: Perseverance
Looking back at 36 years of Andesa history, there have been many stories of heroes and moments of grit, determination and persistence. The Andesa journey involves some wonderful views from the peaks, but also required endurance through the valleys. The long journey to “Forever” is rarely (if ever) straight and paved.
Andesa’s ability to persevere provides us the opportunity to live into our Forever Vision. We will experience changes in business models, economic cycles, technologies, programming languages, new leaders, regulations, etc. Investment in our employee- owners is the best way for us to persevere for a forever future. Teamwork, determination, and “can-do” attitudes carry us forward.
Principle 2: Purpose
Understanding our WHY is critical to understanding Andesa. I am blessed to lead an organization whose purpose so aligns with my own personal purpose.
Andesa employees are driven by something much deeper than a paycheck.
Like the forefathers who founded our country, we too believe in the value of the individual. Our purpose is to help those individuals – both our colleagues and our clients – reach their full potential. Can you think of any higher calling for your time?
Our teams are driven by that passion and purpose to make decisions to invest in relationships – with our employee-owners, our teams and, our clients. We are in the relationship business, and we understand that to our core.
We talk about sustaining a culture because we believe our model, a vision which focuses on finding and hiring quality individuals with good character and then challenging our team to grow as professionals over their career with Andesa. This approach has been a large reason for Andesa’s success and will be as we reflect into our future.
Principle 3 – People First
I saved People First as the final principle discussed in Part One of this blog. It is so important to what Andesa was – is – and will be. We appreciate that the complexity of our industry and systems is best served by developing talent. We care about our colleagues. Throughout its history, Andesa has made decisions which reject the alternative of maintaining the status quo and short-term financial riches in favor of investing in people and the long-term.
Today, Andesa is a financially-stable, privately-held, 36-year old company that is partially ESOP owned. We are investing in new technologies, product lines and service offerings. We are marching toward a 100% ESOP-owned company. Our existing clients continue to add new products each year, and we are adding new clients to our insurance administration eco-system.
On behalf of the 161 employee-owners of Andesa Services, we thank you for your business, your ongoing trust and your ongoing support of Andesa Services.
Be sure to watch for Part 2 of this blog where I will cover the remainder of the Evergreen Principles.