YKK Stories

Fundamental Behavior 9 – Honor commitments

February 26, 2021
Author: YKK
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Fundamental Behavior 9

I would like to share with you the most powerful personal example in my life of FB #9, “Honor Commitments.”  My dad cared for my grandfather every day for 10 years while in the nursing home until his death (and there were many challenging years before the nursing home was the last resort).  Every day, my dad stopped by the nursing home to give my grandfather a bath, shave, medication and dress him in clean clothes.  My dad did this because Medicaid nursing home care in rural Alabama was not ideal.  You also may be thinking this is the classic story of taking care of your parents because that’s what is expected.  Not exactly.

Unfortunately, my grandfather was a very selfish man.  My dad was age 13 when his mother passed, and it changed his life forever.  My grandfather remarried an evil stepmother and the kids were neglected.  My dad had to work the night shift while in school to provide lunch money for his two sisters and pay for his own graduation gap and gown.  His two sisters escaped this life by marrying at the age of 16.  My dad escaped this life by joining the United States Navy where he honorably served our country.

Years later when my grandfather needed care, my dad reported to duty to honor the commitment of taking care of his father.  My dad’s two sisters adamantly declined to help take care of their selfish father.  The sisters could not forget the past and held a grudge until the day he died.  The most impactful part of this story, and example for me personally, is that my dad did not let the past prevent him from honoring commitments as a son to his father.  My dad was able to forgive the past and focus on the present and future to “Do The Right Thing, Always” (FB#1).

What if we all approached our jobs like my dad?  I’ve been at YKK (U.S.A.) Inc. going on 5 years and still feel like the new person.  I’m amazed to observe subcultures in different locations, departments, etc. and hear stories from tenured employees that go back 10, 20 and even 30+ years.  I smile to hear the fun stories but cringe to hear the comments that keep us holding onto the past that prevent us from changing (like the sisters).  I challenge everyone to reconsider the past and your ways of doing things and please re-think the present and your future.  Change and innovation is essential for survival in a pandemic business world.  Now more than ever, we all need to work together to improve our customer service and honor commitments to our customers.  PLEASE DO NOT LET THE PAST PREVENT OUR FUTURE.

Lisha D’Emilio
Vice President – Finance
YKK (U.S.A.) Inc.