InCord’s Creative Management: Becoming a Place Workers Love

InCord Group Photo - Top Workplace Awards 2018

InCord receives CT Top Workplace Award for 8th consecutive year in 2018

How many of us can say we love going to work? How many of us are all too familiar with the dread and despair that ensues when we even think about our job? Trying to imagine “love” and “work” in connection to each other may seem a contradiction or impossibility, but that’s how InCord got its start. InCord founders wanted to create the business they wished they could have worked for.

Take a moment and allow yourself to consider what your ideal workplace would feel like. Picture the place where you would want to go to work, a place where you could thrive. How does the lighting affect you? What artwork is on the walls? What music is playing? How do you feel when you enter your office? How does interaction with your coworkers make you feel? Do you have a sense of fulfillment, inspiration, and alignment with your passions and goals? Can you fathom how good it would feel to truly love going to work?

The earliest days at InCord were spent exploring questions like these. Every act of creation begins with a vision. When we imagine how fulfillment and satisfaction feels, we begin to align ourselves with what we truly want. Likewise, contrast often helps us define what we desire: knowing what we don’t want makes it easier to see what we need.

InCord Archives - Bob & Ed Photo

Ed Ritz (left) and Bob Martin (right) outside our original facility in East Haddam, Connecticut

The founders had no models as they built their business, nor any specific management styles that they’d seen work. Pioneers Ed Ritz and Bob and Mary Martin started InCord with the intention to create a different kind of company—an exemplary workplace from the perspective of employees, starting with themselves. And like any company, InCord’s intentions were to succeed and be profitable so that they could provide for their families.

The product that we provide is a high-quality custom safety net—a fitting metaphor for the work environment we create. Because the Martins and Ritz had come from workplaces infected with stress and uncertainty, driven by greed and corporate agendas, they intended to create the antithesis of what they’d known. They wanted a workplace that constantly reinvents itself and adapts to the needs of its customers and employees. A company that is constantly becoming. An environment where every individual knows that they are valued equally and that their voice counts. A place where feeling safe is a given and every employee is treated with respect.

As Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching teaches, “When we honor the process, the product takes care of itself.” The founders of InCord devised an organic approach: do what feels right and take the high road—be the supplier we would want to do business with, be the employer for whom we would want to work.

For example, at InCord, many decisions are made by consensus, which invites multiple voices and different areas of expertise. We embrace mistakes knowing that they are part of the creative process and are an opportunity to learn. At InCord, we don’t look to assign blame, instead we collaborate to discover a solution and communicate to others so as not to replicate the same error in the future. We honor gut feelings and intuitive insights, which are weighed alongside fact reports and proper due process. Rank does not necessarily override the collective agreement—but wisdom can. At all levels, employees are empowered and trusted. When they experience how their voice counts and their input is respected, we receive more honest feedback, cost savings suggestions, and ideas for improvements and innovations. When workers understand that their success is intertwined with the company’s success and each of them is supported as an individual, a mutual loyalty is formed that cultivates growth and expansion.

Humor, music, art, creativity, diversity, community, and family are all part of our work days at InCord. When employees are accepted as they are and invited to bring their “whole self” to work, a subtle shift occurs. Employees are more visibly content, openly loyal, and outwardly passionate about their job. Naturally, this positivity transforms the customer’s experience and helps engender longstanding mutually beneficial relationships based on authenticity and integrity.

InCord Group Photo - IAAPA 2018

The InCord Play team at IAAPA 2018 in Orlando, Florida

InCord enjoys success and shines by standard business performance indicators as well. Organic growth and financial well-being has been sustained for 23 years, employees receive profit sharing bonuses twice a year, and have voted us Top Workplace in Connecticut for 8 consecutive years. By listening and honoring the whole person—especially what lights someone up, what motivates them—and investing time and energy into employee success, an organization can flourish. Over time, efficiencies and higher return on investments are enjoyed as employee loyalty is high and turn-over is low. A motivated, engaged employee is one working on purpose, for a purpose, while feeling seen and heard.

At InCord, we believe that work is a privilege and creation a gift. We embrace change, celebrate community, and strive to provide a sensory-rich environment. We remain committed to keeping the bar high—bringing out the best in each other so we can continue to deliver a world-class product that protects people and property all over the world.

InCord proves every day that it is possible to be financially successful while treating workers with dignity and respect and supporting them as they achieve their goals. I hope the InCord story inspires you to imagine what your optimum workplace would feel like—and to then create it!

Written by

InCord Portrait - Robin Ritz

Robin Ritz

Creative Visionary
Owner