Though NPL was founded on principles of taking care of customers and treating employees fairly, it wasn’t until 1995 that the Core Values we know now were adopted. At a company-wide operational meeting, leaders sat down to draft NPL’s mission and vision. Articulating a handful of concepts that captured the spirit of NPL’s identity and successes was an important part of that process.
The story goes that after a long, frustrating day of discussion, someone asked matter-of-factly, “Who are we? What got us here? What are we all about?” Fifteen minutes later, the first eight Core Values were decided.
ALWAYS DO WHAT IS RIGHT
TREAT ALL PEOPLE WITH RESPECT
TELL THE TRUTH
TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOUR CUSTOMERS
BE A GOOD STEWARD
KEEP IT SIMPLE
A ninth Core Value – REMEMBER, WE DIG DITCHES – was also created. Though there are multiple accounts of who actually came up with the idea, it’s generally agreed upon that after the first eight values were accepted, someone spoke up with particular bluntness, “Those are great and all, but we got to remember who we are. We dig ditches.”
Though NPL does much more than dig ditches, the last value is endearing to many for what it represents. Former CEO Mike Kemper explained it aptly in an issue of The Pipeline employee newsletter: “A strong work ethic has been an important ingredient in the success of NPL. REMEMBER, WE DIG DITCHES serves to remind us of the value of the honest, good work we do.”
Since their establishment, the Core Values have been a foundational constant in NPL’s business culture, with only one change over the last 22 years – the addition of WORK SAFE.