Weekly Thoughts


People Like Us Do Things Like This, Part 2

Here is something that caught our eye this week:

More on what it means to be a Chenmark company 

As we mentioned last week, we recently had the pleasure of listening to Seth Godin speak at a food industry trade show and his commentary on culture and belonging resonated because it aligned closely with many of our own recent internal discussions.

We believe we must make deliberate decisions about how we want to define success, what we want to stand for, and most crucially, who we want to stand with us.  As a result, we now think about the mission of Chenmark less in terms of an entity to be built and more in terms of a culture and community to define.  Operationally, we always strive to Chase Better and Keep Score, and behaviorally we always work to:

Play the Long Game

While success in any one game or fiscal quarter is great, the true measure of any world class business, team, or individual is the ability to sustain exceptional performance for a long time.  As such, when we think about making decisions for our businesses, we do so not to optimize performance today or tomorrow, although we certainly strive for and expect near term success. Instead, we think about strategy in the context of positioning our companies for exceptional performance multiple decades from now.

This means we are always mindful of cash flow and are conservative in our budgeting.  We always look for ways to spend money more efficiently and while we aren’t afraid to make significant, aggressive purchases, we always do so with an eye toward maximizing the return on our investment.

A long-term approach also means relationships matter.  We aim to be a trusted partner to our customers, our employees, our vendors, and our community and we understand that treating those constituencies fairly and with respect will ensure our companies’ success now and into the future.  That said, we also believe that any truly positive relationship must be two way in nature. We commit to treating our counterparties in the way we would want to be treated but we are unapologetic about expecting the same in return.

Finally, sustaining exceptional performance over time requires a focus on taking care of the whole person.  In short, we can’t take care of our companies if we don’t take care of ourselves and our families. We aren’t afraid to work hard, and we know there will be times when the demands of our jobs will consume much of our available time.  However, we also strive for a degree of balance since we understand our health, fitness, and the quality of our personal relationships will directly correlate to our longevity in business.

Put the Team First

We believe the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and we draw strength from the knowledge that we are supported by a team of people who believe the same thing and are equally committed to group achievement.

There are no celebrities at Chenmark.  We are all focused on doing whatever is necessary to help the team be successful.  When we are down, we pick each other up and accept responsibility. When we win, we share the credit. We have no desire to work with people acting in their own self-interest, regardless of talent.  Team first, always.

Above all, we understand that putting the team first has less to do with financial performance than it does with behavior.  We can always find ways to make money, but it is much harder to repair reputational damage. By working for Chenmark, we commit to holding ourselves to the highest standards of integrity, especially when no one is watching.

So, what is Chenmark?  We are a team of small businesses committed to each other and to the constant pursuit of better.  We share a commitment to Chasing Better, Keeping Score, Playing the Long Game, and Putting the Team First.

We enjoy working through the constantly varied mix of challenges associated with running any smaller company.  We balance a commitment to long-term value creation with the daily drive needed to make decisions despite incomplete information. We maintain a passion for business, significant competitive drive, a willingness to grind, and above all, a deep desire to have a tangible impact on employees, customers, and the community at large.

We realize, of course, that what we are trying to build is not for everyone.  But if any of the above resonates, and if you are interested in working with a group of like-minded people pushing to build something great, get in touch.  We are looking for tough, smart people to join our team and currently have an open Finance position.

Have a great week,

Your Chenmark Team

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