When I carved out Preferred Return in early 2018, I knew that scaling a company in general, and Preferred Return in specific, would mean relying heavily on its people and our internal relationships. I wanted to be clear about my actions—and the principles guiding my actions—so that there were no surprises.
Since then, we’ve tripled every meaningful measure (revenue, earning potential, clients serviced, and thus, headcount). As we grow, I want to be more public about our principles for those who seek to join us as colleagues, firms that desire to call us partners, clients who are considering our products and services, and anyone else whose path crosses ours along this journey.
The following was my first “shareholder letter,” which every new team member still signs. It continues to be relevant today:
Welcome to Preferred Return. I think about the word “company” a lot. Mostly in the terms of “in my company” as opposed to “a company.” I think about you being in my company and I, in yours.
When I think about a company, I think about it more so as a “tribe.” When you’re in my tribe (as a client, employee, vendor, etc) I want you to know what my tribe is about, why we are here, what I promise to you, and what you can expect of me:
- I will get shit done and push my definitions of success as I grow to avoid comfort and complacency.
I will level up.
- I am ready to walk into the chaos of uncertainty and come out alive, hell, or high water.
I am resourceful.
- I won’t just work on things that are assigned to me. I will figure out what jobs need to get done and do them.
I’ll take ownership.
- I will remember the days that I knew next to nothing and will find every opportunity to help my (current or future) colleagues, clients, and partners.
I’ll be a kind and humble teacher.
- Although the occasion is piled high with difficulty, I will rise, with the occasion.
I am resilient.
- I pledge not to just be “busy” or worry about my input, rather, focus on the output.
I am output-focused.
- The output is what I do for myself. Showing up is what I’ll do for my team.
I am aware of my appearance.
- I will put my heart and soul into what I do.
I will care.
- In every broken communication (internal or external), I am at fault.
I will listen.
- I will always make the life for those I report to easier, and I will always shield and elevate those who report to me.
Success is a team sport.
You ask: why take this pledge? Because why else should you do anything, other than to enjoy your days with people you respect, exhausting your energy to solve more and more of the problems that you can’t stop thinking about solving?
Now, let's fucking do this.