By: Jill Mendoza I recently had an opportunity to participate in a unique program for Presidents sponsored by a Non-Profit dedicated to serving private small businesses. The organization is “Aileron”. ai·le·ron n. — One of two movable flaps on the wings of an airplane that can be used to control the plane’s rolling and banking movements. –American Heritage Dictionary The program I participated in was exclusively for business owners, presidents, and CEOs of privately held organizations. As business owners our job is to ensure the organization is adaptable, efficient, sustainable, and profitable. Like many others in my position, we know how easy it is to get so involved in the day-to-day operations of the business we have a hard time focusing on what’s really important: Growing the business and preparing for the future. No one knows this better than Clay Mathile for Aileron is his Legacy. In 1982 Clay was owner and president of Iams, which he had joined in 1970 as the companies 7th employee. Iams went from a company generating $ 12.5 million in sales in 1982 to one generating $900 Million. Procter & Gamble bought Iams for 2.3 Billion in 1999. Today Clay leads Aileron, a business center located just north of Dayton Ohio that helps business owners. The Aileron program I attended focused on the fundamentals of Professional Management which is centered on Aileron’s DOC (Direction, Operation and Control) structure. Fortunately for IDO we already practice many of the disciplines of the DOC Professional Management model. We have been working to develop leaders at all levels of our organization, we have a strong strategy in place, we develop our people and manage their performance, and we have a business structure that is flexible and can adapt to our sometimes ever-changing business. Although we have many great things going for us what I realized after attending this program the most important powerful discipline of the DOC model, one which IDO excels in, is CULTURE. The DOC model defines Culture as “an organization’s ongoing process of fostering the environment, behaviors, and activities that bring the organization’s belief and value to life. By environment, it means the tangible, physical environment, as well as the intangible – the feeling of what it’s like to work in the organization and with people.” The lesson that hit home for me; like structure, the culture of your company is going to develop whether you grow it intentionally or not. Clay speaks to this in his book; Run Your Business, Don’t Let it Run You; by saying: “It’s so important to develop an intentional culture, one that is positive and highly functional.” I learned that everything in a company has to be aligned not only strategically but also philosophically and some may say spiritually. Clay notes: “Culture says, “these are our beliefs and our values, and here is how we behave as a result. This is what we stand for.” Although we have much work to do to grow our business, I have never been more confident and optimistic about our future; thanks to Aileron and their talented staff. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to attend this program and honored to be leading our company at this very point in time. As a company we have together intentionally created a very positive and highly functional IDO culture. This culture not only benefits our associates and our business, but it also benefits our business partners, our clients and our community. As Clay would say, he relied on experienced outside executives who served as mentors who gave him their time and advice and it’s only natural for him and many others associated with Aileron, to simply “PAY IT FORWARD”! Here’s one small biz that is so thankful and grateful for their vision, wisdom and willingness to give back…. DOC Model Diagram courtesy of Aileron.