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YKK Fundamental Behaviors

no one prospers without rendering benefit to others

At the YKK Americas Group, we believe in the “Cycle of Goodness” – the idea that “no one prospers without rendering benefit to others.” We’re committed to creating value for our customers, employees, and society in all that we do. Our three Core Values provide the framework for carrying out these objectives. But what do these values mean on a daily basis? The 25 Fundamental Behaviors that follow provide the answer. They describe the daily practices that bring our culture to life.

Do the right thing, always.

Demonstrate an unwavering commitment to doing the right thing in every action you take and in every decision you make, especially when no one’s looking. Always tell the truth, no matter the consequences.

Be vigilant about safety.

Every position in our company has inherent dangers. Know how to make your job as safe as possible, while being aware of your changing surroundings. Never take shortcuts that compromise your safety or that of your teammates.

Protect the environment.

Always remember that protecting the environment is our highest priority. Use best practices to avoid waste, reduce emissions, recycle, and manage hazardous waste appropriately. Look for opportunities to improve our environmental impact.

Make quality personal.

Demonstrate a passion for excellence and take pride in the quality of everything you do. Combat complacency. Good is not good enough. Always ask yourself, “Is this my best work?”

Embrace diversity.

Be curious and be inclusive. Embrace people of all backgrounds and with perspectives different from your own. Be sensitive to the intrinsic differences that make us individuals. We make better decisions when we consider multiple points of view and act as a team with common goals.

Lead by example.

The best way to influence others is through your own example. Take responsibility, both formally and informally, to coach, guide, teach, and mentor others. Be the example you want others to emulate.

Clarify expectations, then respond quickly.

Avoid misunderstandings by discussing expectations upfront. Ask when you’re not clear on what is expected of you. End all meetings with clarity about action items and responsibilities. Then, respond quickly, whether in person, on the phone, or by e-mail. Respond even if you’re still working on a solution.

Make customers a priority.

Understand both your internal and external customers’ needs. Know their challenges and frustrations. Learn to think from their perspective and act in their best interest. Seek opportunities to support their needs and add value.

Honor commitments.

Be reliable and 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, meetings, and promises. If a commitment can’t be fulfilled, notify others early and agree on a new deliverable to be honored.

Be process-driven.

Create systems and processes that support our ability to perform with consistency. Strong processes are the foundation of organizational effectiveness.


Challenge yourself to look for new ways to improve our products and processes and to serve our customers and community. Be willing to try the unconventional and to ask “What if?” Think differently.

Seek improvement in everything.

Continuously reevaluate every aspect of your job to find ways to improve. Don’t be satisfied with the status quo. “Because we’ve always done it that way” is not a reason. When you think you’ve done enough, challenge yourself to take that one extra step. Do a little bit more. Do it a little bit better. Go a little bit further.

Be a team player.

Don’t let your own ego or personal agenda get in the way of doing what’s best for the team. Consider how your actions impact others. Be willing to help a co-worker when that’s what’s required for success. Help each other to succeed. Pay attention to things that matter to others, and treat people with respect.

Invest in relationships.

Make decisions that enhance long-term relationships. This applies to customers, employees, and society. Strong relationships enable us to more successfully work through difficult issues and challenging times.

Listen to understand.

Listening is more than simply “not speaking.” Give others your undivided attention. Be present and engaged. Let go of the need to formulate a response while the other person is talking. Suspend your judgment and be curious to know more, rather than jumping to conclusions.

Provide meaningful appreciation.

Regularly extend meaningful acknowledgment and appreciation — in all directions throughout our organization.

Practice blameless problem-solving.

Demonstrate a relentless solution focus, rather than pointing fingers or dwelling on problems. Work from the assumption that people are good, fair, and honest, and that the intent behind their actions is positive. Identify lessons learned and use those lessons to improve ourselves and our processes so we don’t make the same mistake twice. Get smarter with every mistake. Learn from every experience.

Take ownership.

Take personal responsibility for making things happen. It’s never someone else’s job. Respond to every situation by looking for how you can do it rather than explaining why it can’t be done. Show initiative and be willing to do the mundane and ordinary things necessary to contribute to our company as a whole. If you see it, own it and make sure it gets done. Don’t make excuses.

Be proactive.

Solve problems before they occur by anticipating future issues, planning for contingencies, and addressing them in advance. Take control and avoid surprises, rather than being reactive. Do the maintenance now instead of fixing it later. Preventing issues is always better than fixing them.

Pay attention to the details.

Missing just one detail can have an enormous impact on a job. Be a fanatic about accuracy and precision. The goal is to get things right, not simply to get them done. Double-check your work. Get the details right the first time.

Be a lifelong learner.

Be curious. Seek out and take advantage of every opportunity to gain more knowledge, to increase your skills, and to become a greater expert. Be resourceful about learning and sharing best practices. Never stop growing.

Take pride in our appearance.

Making sure our personal appearance, our work area, our plant, and our office are neat, clean, and orderly inspires confidence in our quality. If you see it, take care of it. Help to maintain that high standard.

Give back.

Regularly seek out opportunities to assist those in need, both individually and through coordinated team activities. Express gratitude for the help you’ve been given by reaching out and helping others. You can and do make a difference.

Be an ambassador.

We’re all responsible for, and benefit from, the YKK Group image and reputation. Be proud of who we are and share your passion with each other, our customers, and the community.

Be positive.

You have the power to choose your attitude. Choose to be joyful, optimistic, and enthusiastic. Your attitude is contagious. Spread optimism and positive energy.