The eight standards Preston McMurry established are still the key to the company’s successes today, both in publishing and in creating a great workplace, says Chris McMurry.
And although these principles were never articulated in the McMurry household, they are essentially what the McMurry family was raised on. “To a large degree, businesses are representative of the people who run them,” McMurry says. “Running a business is not that much different than running a household.”
These principles—the key to what sets McMurry apart from the competition—literally beam down upon the workforce, as they are posted on a lobby wall, and a theatre light projects the number 8 on top of them. They’re also imbedded in the artwork displayed throughout the office complex. Because of the companywide faith in these eight values, the lack of uniform rules at McMurry creates both a freedom and a structure for employees.
For example, there is no policy for travel expenses. It’s just expected that an employee will use common sense when it comes to spending and not spending. Also, departments don’t work with a budget. McMurry says they don’t need one. Because of this intense faith, he says he doesn’t have people spending unusual amounts of money.
“There’s a lot of similarities with great countries and countries that are struggling, and great businesses and businesses that are struggling,” McMurry says. “The great countries and great businesses—they have freedom. … When they are free, people can think. They’re not burdened by bureaucracy and rules that are developed to create control.”
McMurry employees—such as Lee Vikre, vice president, Tremendous People (that’s her official department, which in other companies would be called Human Resources)—say personal initiative is highly valued and rewarded. “McMurry combines empowerment, innovation, camaraderie, financial strength and trust at a very high level,” Vikre says. “The company values are real, and they govern all we do. It’s the best place I have ever worked, bar none.”
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