Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It's the "Reell" Thing!

A business – or any other organization for that matter - as it evolves, becomes like its leader(s) or founder(s), sharing their characteristics, preferences, and foibles. In growing Saelig, I’ve looked at other companies from time to time for ideas, but not found too much inspiration – there’s too much emphasis on growing at the expense of the individual. So I was encouraged to see the philosophies of a Minnesota company, where friend of mine works – Reell Precision Manufacturing Corporation (see – and pronounced “Ray-el”). Located in St. Paul, Minnesota, this is a remarkable organization because Reell’s values are the core of the identity of the company.

Reell’s founders wanted to build a company that viewed success as more than return on investment. They wanted to provide exceptional products and services to customers while creating a work environment that fostered a balanced life for its co-workers. They named the company "Reell" (ray-EL'); a German word meaning honest, trustworthy and good, to reflect these values.

Reell is founded on the belief that life's highest purpose is for each person to fulfill his or her true potential. To this end, Reell is committed to providing an environment that supports and encourages the development and advancement of each coworker. Reell offers training, experience and career opportunities to help coworkers achieve their goals, provides excellent benefits (including premier medical, dental and adoption plans), educational reimbursement, holiday and personal time off, short-term and long-term disability, an employee assistance program, flex-benefit deduction, a 401(k) plan and an Employee Stock Ownership Plan.

They believe that it is not striving to compete with each other or other companies but the pursuit of excellence to be better persons that leads to success. Their Company Statement acknowledges that “the potential of persons to be all they can be is within each one, waiting to be expressed.” It is not about someone (a supervisor, a boss) driving others towards excellence but about “free[ing] each other to grow and express the excellence that is within all persons.” (

The Vision, Mission, Declaration of Belief and the Direction Statement at Reell are summed up in four short, practical principles that help everyone in the organization to make decisions “consistent with God’s purposes for creation according to [each person’s] individual understanding":
1) Do what is right: We are committed to do what is right, even when it does not seem to be profitable, expedient, or conventional.
2) Do our best: In our understanding of excellence we embrace a commitment to continuous improvement in everything we do. It is our commitment to encourage, teach, equip, and free each other to do and become all that we were intended to be.
3) Treat others as we would like to be treated
4) Seek Inspirational Wisdom

These seem like good principles on which to build a growing company!

1 comment:

Rob said...

Very true; The challenge is rarely comeing up with such statements, it is following through to make certain every employee understands and "buys into" the underlying principle. The breakdown often occurs when companies hire an outside consultant to tell us what we are or hire a firm to assess our market position.
If you cannot do this with your own employees, you either have the wrong employees or have a poisoned culture that cannot properly function. I too admire companies like Reel who have made this more than just nice words for their letterhead, but have seen far too many who do not understand what they are or wish to become and how to bring their employees along for the journey.