At Waterford.org, how we work matters, not just what we accomplish. Waterford’s President and CEO, Dr. Benjamin Heuston, and Andy Myers, COO, discuss the work environment and work ethic of the Waterford team.
Waterford believes that as a thought leader in early childhood education, the organization must constantly strive for a better understanding of how the process of early childhood education can be improved. By listening to the education community, Waterford is able to improve the learning experience for children and their families.
Waterford’s values cycle exemplifies the ways in which ideas and information flow between members of an organization to ultimately help strengthen the group as a whole. Mr. Myers and Dr. Heuston want Waterford to be a place where the voices and ideas of those within the company are heard and valued in order to improve the collective strength of the organization.
Andy Myers (COO, Waterford) : Well this is an important moment for Waterford. This is a great moment it feels like a fresh start it feels like a chance for us to build and grow. And right now this opportunity we have to introduce what do we believe? What do we think are the most important things that should be happening to improve education? Becoming a thought leader, becoming an organization where employees say, “that’s the place where I want to be, a place where I want to work.”
Dr. Benjamin Heuston (President & CEO, Waterford): My favorite part of being that Waterford is that we’re organized around growth. So our values are all centered around growth and that growth starts at the individual, merges into the collective, and the transformation that happens through that and everyone is elevated through that. The people that we serve are transformed and we’re individually and collectively transformed. That’s the most exciting thing in life. When you feel your capacity expanding, when you understand that you are a better person than you were yesterday or the day before that, that is intoxicating.
AM: How we work matters not just what we achieve. It’s something that I’ve thought about a lot because we have a mission and everybody’s here and is excited about the impact of our mission. But we also need to make this a great place to work. We need people to feel like this is a place where their ideas are heard where there are opportunities for them to grow. If we don’t have those things, then we can’t achieve our mission as easily or as effectively.
BH: Those spontaneous conversations, or going to lunch with someone and saying, “hey what do you think about, or how about this?” That questioning in mind, that openness to new ideas, that willingness to say, I know a lot of things but I’m still humble enough to learn I’m arrogant enough to believe that we can put a dent in the universe and that it’s going to be for good but I’m humble enough to recognize that we can do it even better tomorrow if we keep helping each other forward.
AM: When we started to think about values as an organization we thought about pillars but as we talked about the values, they really do fit together and they form a cycle. It starts with having the right people and given the right opportunities to work together learning from their mistakes and growing and then having impact. And once they have that impact they’re more motivated to take risks again in the future. So the values do work together as a cycle not just as individual tenants.
BH: And one of the happy circumstances is that growth and education is both what we do and what we need our culture to be about. We need to have confidence that as we help the world become a better place we’re helping each other become better people as well.