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The iDS Way, iDS Way, STEPS™ framework, STEPS™

“The iDS Way” Core Fundamentals echo our Core Values of Teamwork, Respect, Integrity, Innovation, and Excellence, as well as our commitment to Diversity Equity & Inclusion.


iDS’ Core Fundamentals are behaviors that we want all employees to embrace that transform words into actions and bring our culture to life.

Fundamental #1

DO WHAT’S BEST FOR THE CLIENT

In all situations, do what’s best for the client, even if it’s to our own detriment. There’s no greater way to build a reputation than to steadfastly do what’s right for others – every day. Lowering costs is not the only path to doing what’s best for the client.

Fundamental #2

INVEST IN RELATIONSHIPS

Get to know your clients and co-workers on a more personal level. Talk more and e-mail less. Understand what makes others tick and what’s important to them. Strong relationships enable us to more successfully work through difficult issues and challenging times.

Fundamental #3

PRACTICE THE “HUMAN TOUCH”

Listen for, and pay attention to, the things that make people unique. Make the effort and take the time to connect on a personal level. Use face-to-face meetings, handwritten notes, and phone calls to connect. Show people you care about them as individuals rather than as transactions. Genuine compassion can’t be faked.

Fundamental #4

BE CONSULTATIVE

Be a thinker, not just a doer. Ask questions. Seek to understand the root problem and contribute to solving that problem. A solution without understanding is a guess.

Fundamental #5

GET CLEAR ON EXPECTATIONS

Create clarity and avoid misunderstandings by discussing expectations upfront. Establish mutually understood objectives and deadlines for all projects, issues, and commitments. Where appropriate, confirm your communication by asking others to repeat back verbally their understanding to ensure total clarity and agreement. Use budgets. Focus on clearly defined services and deliverables.

Fundamental #6

BE PROCESS-ORIENTED

World-class organizations are built on a foundation of highly effective, repeatable processes. Create processes for every aspect of your work and then turn those processes into habits to achieve consistent results. Follow STEPS™.

Fundamental #7

BE A LIFELONG LEARNER

Own your development. Take the initiative to seek out new experiences and take advantage of every opportunity to gain more knowledge, to increase your skills, and to become a better professional. Be coachable and seek feedback. Practice self-critique.

Fundamental #8

LOOK AHEAD AND ANTICIPATE

Solve issues before they become problems by anticipating future needs and addressing them in advance. Preventing problems is always more effective than fixing them.

Fundamental #9

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

Be prepared for your engagements and your meetings. Do the background research. Read the Complaint. Prepare your templates for conference calls and interviews in advance. Know the actors before you engage. Give yourself the foundation for success.

Fundamental #10

FOLLOW THE DATA

We help our clients build narratives through data. Those narratives yield answers. The better we can identify and work with data, the better that
narrative.

Fundamental #11

BE CURIOUS

Always think about the “why.” Ask the questions to seek knowledge. Don’t accept anything at “face value” if it doesn’t make sense to you. Question what you don’t understand.

Fundamental #12

LISTEN GENEROUSLY

Listening is more than simply “not speaking.” Be present and engaged. Quiet the noise in your head and let go of the need to agree or disagree. Create space for team members to express themselves without judgment. Listen with care and with empathy. Above all, listen to understand.

Fundamental #13

PAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS

Details matter, from the spelling and pronunciation of a client’s name, to the wording on a survey, or the colors on a logo. Be a fanatic about accuracy and precision. Double-check your work. Ask for peer review. Get the details right.

Fundamental #14

SHARE INFORMATION

Find it, use it, and share it. With appropriate respect for confidentiality, share information freely. Learn to ask yourself, “Who else could know this?” Information is one of our greatest assets.

Fundamental #15

SPEAK DIRECTLY

Speak honestly in a way that moves the action forward. Make clear, simple, and direct requests. Say what you mean, mean what you say. Be willing to ask questions and share ideas. Raise issues that may risk conflict when it’s necessary for team success. Address issues directly with those who are involved or affected. Speak up.

Fundamental #16

MAKE QUALITY PERSONAL

Take pride in the quality of everything you touch and everything you do. Always ask yourself, “Is this my best work?” Everything you touch has your signature. Sign in bold ink.

Fundamental #17

FIND A WAY

Start with “Yes.” Take direct responsibility for making things happen – somehow, someway. Respond to every situation by looking for how we can do it rather than explaining why it can’t be done. Be resourceful and show initiative.

Fundamental #18

DELIVER RESULTS

While effort is appreciated, we reward and celebrate results. Set high goals directly tied to results, use measurements to track your progress, and hold yourself accountable for achieving those results.

Fundamental #19

BE RELENTLESS ABOUT IMPROVEMENT

Continuously evaluate every aspect of your job and seek ways to improve. Don’t be satisfied with the status quo. “Because we’ve always done it that way” is not a reason or a strategy. Keep getting better.

Fundamental #20

PRACTICE BLAMELESS PROBLEM-SOLVING

Apply your creativity, spirit, and enthusiasm to developing solutions, rather than pointing fingers and dwelling on problems. Identify lessons learned and use those lessons to improve our processes so we don’t make the same mistake again. Get smarter with every mistake. Learn from every experience.

Fundamental #21

HONOR COMMITMENTS

Do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it. This includes being on time for all phone calls, appointments, and meetings. If a commitment can’t be fulfilled, notify others early and agree on a new one to be honored.

Fundamental #22

BE GRATEFUL

Express thanks every day. It benefits all parties involved and it just feels good. Acknowledging the gifts that we have in life is a path to a sense of abundance.

Fundamental #23

BE A TEACHER

Teaching is an attitude, not just a behavior. We are thought leaders. Thought leaders teach. We are mentors. Mentors teach. We are trusted advisors. Trusted advisors teach. We are testifiers. Testifiers teach. When we teach, we also learn.

Fundamental #24

BE AN AMBASSADOR

Be an ambassador of iDS both in and outside of the workplace. Always talk positively. Communicate any concerns to the appropriate person. Remember to promote and protect the brand.

Fundamental #25

KEEP THINGS FUN

Remember that the world has bigger problems than the daily challenges that make up our work. Stuff happens. Keep perspective. Try not to take things personally or take yourself too seriously. Look for a reason to laugh every day.

Fundamental #26

CELEBRATE SUCCESS

Celebrate people doing things right. Regularly extend meaningful acknowledgment in all directions throughout our company.
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