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Posted on Oct 6, 2017

Values in Leadership: Interview with Mike Aman

Values in Leadership: Interview with Mike Aman

I’m pleased to present a new Business Leader Series called Values in Leadership, where I’ll share powerful insights I gleaned from interviews with successful business leaders. I welcome your comments or questions by emailing:


I’m thrilled to introduce you to Mike Aman, a passionate entrepreneur who built a very successful service-based business in Greenville, NC called One Source Communications.

Growing up, Mike says he learned from his father about hard work and discipline. He believed in the Golden Rule – treat others as you want to be treated – which, along with the two values of hard work and discipline, were the guiding principles of his company until they grew to about 50 employees.

At that point Mike got involved with the C12 Group, which helped him establish a formal mission, vision, and values.

Starting a Different Way

On the topic of values, Mike chose to start in a different way. He first wanted to engage employees to understand the importance of personal values. He believed that if employees understood the importance of values in their personal lives, then they would understand the importance of values in the business.

So, all employees were invited to participate in a book study using a book called Good to the Core: Building Value with Values.

An important learning Mike took from this exercise was the understanding that what we value tends to be what we expect back from others. In other words, we tend to set our values on what we want to receive from others. Based on the golden rule, you need to give out those values that you expect to get in return.

Mike then took his management team through an off-site exercise to create their mission, vision, and initial set of values. After a series of follow up meetings, they honed these values down to 5 Permission to Participate Values, and one core value of Servant Leadership.

Their 5 Permission to Participate Values are:

  1. Teamwork
  2. Respect
  3. Integrity
  4. Excellence
  5. Quality of Life

Their core value of Servant Leadership is defined as building relationships by placing the needs of those you serve higher than your own, and in so doing, influence others to follow your example.

Creative Ways to Communicate Values

Mike also found some creative ways to ensure employees fully understood and embraced these values. In addition to promoting the values in and around the building, Mike would offer spot rewards with gift cards if an employee could state the values.

But the biggest difference came when they tied employee responsibilities to the values.

Mike talks about how they wove the values into each employee’s job description. Each defined responsibility of an employee had one of the 5 Permission to Participate Values associated with it. So, during a performance review, a manager could talk about the positive or negative impacts of an employee’s actions and decisions and the direct impact it had on the company’s values.

To listen to the whole interview with Mike, please visit: Values in Leadership.