We are a loosely affiliated collection of high performance technology enabling companies.

OUR BACKGROUND

Although we foster the independence and disaffiliation of business units as one of our core values, it is important that every portfolio exemplifies our values as well.

So what are those other values?

OUR JOURNEY

We began our journey in a Yale frat house in 1991 when our founder read a newsletter and thought “I can do better.” He did. The Resulting Home Care Week become a significant competitor in the industry, and by 1998 his enterprise had grown, even after struggles caused by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.

LESSONS LEARNED

Have the financial discipline to
run your company like there is
about to be a recession.

We abhor bureaucracy, and therefore remove it wherever possible. We ask four things: growth, compliance, profitability and adherence to our core values. Portfolios have their own policies and procedures and their own cultures.

OUR PHILOSOPHY

Everything we build will be part of our legacy to the world. That’s a big responsibility. We must ask ourselves with every investment: What kind of return will this bring for us and our satellites, and what kind of return will this be for the world?

At Pelton, we use information technology to provide world class solutions and services.

When we hire leaders, we hire them for the long haul. Just like we have a long-term plan for every company, we have a long-term plan for every leader.

The best leaders surround themselves with great leaders so they can have it all and do it all.

WE FOLLOW A CONTRARIAN, DECENTRALIZED MODEL

Central planning doesn’t work. So why are thousands of companies still using it? It’s the natural way for a business to grow, with each layer of the company continually added to the bottom of the pyramid. The fallacy is that one person at the top has all the answers, and puts the focus on headquarters instead of on the customers.

Small businesses grow faster because they aren’t burdened with flawed bureaucracies that choke growth and detract from customer focus. They are more profitable and create more jobs than big corporations. Decisions are made by the people who know the customers personally and understand every aspect of the business.

How do you maintain the vigor and customer focus of a small business once you grow beyond the million-dollar revenue mark? The answer is a contrarian, decentralized model. In this paradigm, front-line businesses and departments are accountable for growing revenue and profits while remaining compliant and adhering to the parent company’s values.

The fact that the parent company doesn’t control compliance directly or dictate corporate culture does not mean that those components aren’t important. In actuality, it means the opposite: that compliance and culture are so critical that they should be handled by experts, not dilettantes. The people who work directly with the customers and employees should set policies and procedures that serve them best while maintaining compliance and upholding core values.

Hierarchy is an organization with its face toward the CEO and its ass toward the customer.

— J A C K W E L C H

Because we live this model, we have experienced rapid growth while maintaining the vigor and customer focus of a startup. As we’ve grown, our customer base has never known the firm was expanding behind the scenes, and we’re very proud of that fact. Our ability to remain agile and customer-centered will always be at the core of who we are, no matter how many employees we have on staff.

M O T T O

WE ARE SCRAPPY

We focus on results and nothing else. In a results-driven company, there is no time to worry about status and titles because the focus is all on the end goal. In many organizations, titles are on every door: Titles are what everyone knows, but that is not us.

THE FOLDING TABLE CULTURE

In the early days, everyone had folding tables and chairs. When it became clear that the uncomfortable furniture was affecting company morale, we bought a truck full of comfortable chairs that had been discarded by a big IT company because they were hideous. Everyone was happy.

Eventually, we decided to hire a CEO to run day-to-day operations. After a long meeting in our conference room full of folding tables and reject conference chairs, one candidate told us that the office furniture made him uncomfortable. Success! We had just screened out a candidate who would never fit our values.

Several years later, we replaced most of the folding tables with ergonomic standing desks, but we’ve hung on to the folding table culture. There are no grand offices in our organization. CEOs don’t sit in corner offices with secretaries perched outside. They interface with the customer. They sign for packages. Occasionally, they take out the trash.

We are a scrappy company.
We don’t care about titles.
We don’t care about offices.
We don’t tolerate bureaucracy.
We keep administrative personnel to a minimum.
We keep communications direct and straightforward.

Every leader should take the scrappiness test: When was the last time you spoke with a customer? How many people stand between you and front-line employees? Are people in your organization focused more on titles or on outcomes? After a company meeting or event, who takes out the trash?

WE FAIL AND LEARN FROM OUR FAILURES

We’ve failed many times, but we’ve succeeded more. Those two facts are closely related. Our failures made us who we are. We’ve learned important lessons from each one, including how to hire better, how to survive a recession, and how to perform long-term market research before investing. Our failures have informed our successes.

One of the most important questions to ask in a leadership interview is “Tell me about your greatest failure.” In an Pelton company, anyone who points to a modest failure fails the test. We want to hear about a spectacular disaster that changed the candidate’s life.

When we coach employees, the first question we ask is “Where did you fail this quarter?” The next question is “What did you learn from this failure?” Anyone who can’t point to a personal failure with a related lesson will never succeed.

Credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is not effort without error or shortcoming.

— TEDDY ROOSEVELT

WE THINK LONG TERM

Some people think we look like a private equity company. While it’s true that we invest in companies with potential and turn them around, there is one big difference: We don’t sell. We’ve never sold a company, and we don’t plan to do so in the future. We have a 20-year plan for every company we buy.

Because we have no outside investors, we can focus on creating long-term value. The founder and the employees own 100 percent of the company. We will never go public.

We are building a diversified group of businesses worldwide. We have strong cash reserves, strong cash flow, and we invest for the future. We will invest in insurance assets.

We will also invest in great people. We invest in A-players who are coachable, can grow beyond their comfort zones, and don’t rest on past accomplishments. C-players are off the bus. For those who are willing to grow and learn, the company offers infinite possibility.

WE HIRE GREAT PEOPLE

The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.

— TEDDY ROOSEVELT

If you hire people with the potential to grow and hire other great people, you’ve unfettered your potential for growth.

We also focus on great people. The company works meticulously to find great leaders and excellent employees. With an extreme investment in acquiring talent, we can spend less time managing them. Less micromanagement leads to a more successful, satisfied work force.

Leaders create leaders. The first focus of a Pelton leader is to invest in people with great potential. A great leader can point to a trail of successful people behind them, and at Pelton that trail is more than 9,500 staff members strong and spans the globe. They are all proud to be successful at what they do—and even more proud of the failures they’ve conquered along the way.

The biggest mistake most leaders make is not hiring people who will challenge them. Spend time on the front end making sure you know what you want in the position. If you don’t find the right person at first, keep looking or try another recruiting firm. Don’t settle.

Great leaders develop great leaders. Less confident leaders don’t because they fear being surpassed.

How many people have you developed who have gone on to do great things? You get bonus points if they’ve been even more successful than you. If you are a great leader, we have one great leader. If you create great leaders, we have dozens.

WE EMBRACE AND NOT OR

Here are some “ands” we embrace:

Profitability and growth:
Most managers say they can turn a profit or invest in growth. We ask all of our leaders to do both.

Customer-focused and employee-centered:
The customer should be the focus of every business decision. Where does that leave the employees? It leaves them working as part of a customer-focused, thriving organization that offers them almost unlimited opportunities for growth.

Fearlessness and compliance:
We are aggressive. We are also compliant. We push boundaries but understand that we must do so within the limits of compliance.

Strategic thinking and execution:
We always plan for the future while insisting on operational excellence. We break molds and try the impossible, but we are still workmanlike in our pursuit.

Organic growth and acquisitions:
Acquisitions are exciting, but they can’t take a leader’s eye off of the mandate for strategic growth of existing companies.

WE SEEK
SELF-AWARENESS

Know thyself, improve thyself, complement thyself.

— ANTHONY K. TJAN

from Hearts, Smarts, Guts and Luck

Where did you fail this year? What are you really bad at? How could you have been a better leader for your team? If the answer is nothing, you lack self-awareness, which is key to leadership success.

In order to gain self-awareness, you must have the emotional fortitude to deal with criticism and to accept your flaws. You must open yourself to criticism from your coach, your employees and your customers.

How do you know if you’re self-aware? How easy was it for you to list your failures and weaknesses? When was the last time you got criticism from your coach and acted on it? When is the last time you were criticized by your direct reports? If you have the emotional fortitude to open yourself up to criticism and to truly hear and act on it, you will gain self-awareness.

Peter Drucker suggests that every leader engage in feedback analysis. In the Harvard Business Review article, “Managing Oneself,” he writes, “Every time you make a decision …. write down what you expect will happen. Nine or 12 months later compare the results with what you expected.”

You should also be getting feedback from your employees, peers and customers. You can survey your customers, employees, peers, anyone you want. The more feedback you get, the better leader you will be.



MANAGER QUAL CARD

HOW MUCH:

• EBITDA have you created organically in the past year?
• EBITDA have you acquired in the past year?

HAVE YOU:

• Developed leaders who can challenge you?
• Created a transformational vision and shared it with your M&A and operations teams?

DO YOU:

• Have a transformational vision for your portfolio?
• Face the brutal facts?
• Admit vulnerabilities and mistakes to peers?
• Keep an open door and welcome critical feedback?

ARE YOU:

• On a path of learning and personal growth?
• Trustworthy and transparent?
• Scrappy?



CEO QUAL CARD

• Know your revenue and EBITDA off the   top of your head.
• Be willing to admit your vulnerabilities   and mistakes to your peers.
• Be on a path to personal growth.
• Know your culture index and what it   means about your blind spots.
• Know your transformational vision off   the top of your head.
• Be trustworthy (don't hide the bad news   or hide your problems).
• Be scrappy, down to earth and focused   on results, not title and position.
• Hire great leaders who can execute your   transformational vision.
• Know your top three metrics off the top   of your head.