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Live and Lead with Values — Even in Our Government

by Dina Dwyer Owens

3 minute read

    Op-ed in the Waco Tribune-Herald, Published Friday, January 29, 2016 12:01 am

    It is an idea that began in Waco, traveled around the world and has recently landed back in America with some of our highest-ranking leaders in Washington. I am talking about the Dwyer Group Code of Values and a series of principles that support our organization, drawing interest from some of the most inspiring audiences looking to learn from our journey.



    live and lead with values L to R: House Speaker Paul Ryan, Dina Dwyer-Owens, and Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) at the Congressional Institute Retreat in Baltimore.


    A few months ago I was invited to speak at the annual Congressional Institute Retreat in Baltimore where Republicans gathered to plan their agenda for the year. As we began the start of an election year I know most of the general public was hearing a lot about gridlock and party lines, but I had the opportunity to experience a different side. I was seeing first hand a growing interest from some of our nation’s most influential leaders who want to live and lead with values.

    It’s no small feat that Dwyer Group has grown more than 50 percent in the past 18 months. We have an incredible team and so many people are attracted to the culture and success we enjoy. And after a record year of historic growth in 2015, our organization now includes 13 service brands, 2,500 franchises and more than $1.3 billion in annual systemwide sales that stretch across 10 countries around the globe. First and foremost, the common thread behind that growing, collaborative and collective success is the Dwyer Group Code of Values. People routinely ask, “How can we create that kind of environment for our own organization?”

    It’s a topic that speaks to my heart and one of the reasons I wrote my last book “Values, Inc.” I wanted to provide a road map for others to experience what we’ve experienced at Dwyer Group. I wanted to help others define a Code of Values that can live and breathe in their organizations. Because while I am the first to admit that nobody is perfect, we can all strive to reach for the high bar every day.

    As passionate as I am about Dwyer Group’s idea of living with values, I hardly envisioned that the book and its message would be compelling for future and current leaders of our great nation. But I have always had a personal goal to make a positive impact on government. And speaking at the Congressional Retreat is one of the ultimate honors not just for me but also for our headquarters team in Waco as well as our associates and service brands around the world.

    I shared that road map — the four key steps to creating your own values — in Baltimore. Those steps include:

    • Knowing and understanding your values.
    • Aligning yourself with people who embody your values.
    • Systemization and internalization of your values.
    • Measuring your performance with values.

    It’s ambitious for any business or group of people, no matter the size. But I’m eternally optimistic that it works for everyone who chooses to live by those values. Yes, even in Washington. And the operative word is living those values.

    Many people and businesses are genuinely interested in defining their values. The hurdle becomes acting upon those values every single day. It’s been said that 95 percent of businesses that have a Code of Values don’t even use it. They write them down, frame them, hang them on the wall and then just walk away. The key is making them a daily part of the culture and organization. The impact this can have on an organization speaks volumes.

    We’ve effectively done it at Dwyer Group and it regularly makes us a better place to live, work and recruit the very best in our industry. And I’m certainly not interested in keeping it a secret either.

    That’s why I travel, speak and share the success of our Code of Values to a growing list of audiences. From Baltimore to Beijing, Baylor to Harvard, and our Dwyer Group headquarters in Waco all the way to the White House, the list of places where I speak continues to spotlight the rightful discussion of ethics in business and in life on a world stage.

    I’m humbled that the Congressional Retreat is now on that list. I look forward to our nation’s leaders embracing a similar journey as they set their own goals to move our country forward and live and lead with values.


    Want to learn more about how to Live RICH?
    Check out Dina’s On-Demand Seminar about how to build success in your company and your life – with a proven Code of Values.
    It’s FREE!

    Dina Dwyer Owens

    Dina Dwyer Owens

    Dina Dwyer-Owens is Co-Chair of The Dwyer Group®. America also knows her from the CBS reality show “Undercover Boss” and the first-ever special “Undercover Boss: Epic Bosses.” Dwyer Group, based in Waco, Texas, is a holding company of 19 service brands, 17 of which support a different franchise with more than 2,800 franchise owners under the following service marks: Aire Serv®, Glass Doctor®, The Grounds Guys®, Five Star Painting®, Molly Maid®, Mr. Appliance®, Mr. Electric®, Mr. Handyman®, Mr. Rooter® (Drain Doctor® in the UK), ProTect Painters®, Rainbow International®, Locatec®, Window Genie®, Neighborly®, Bright & Beautiful®, and Countrywide Grounds Maintenance®. Collectively, those service brands make more than 3 million customer calls a year and accounts for more than $1.5 billion in system-wide sales. Dina has served as the chair of the International Franchise Association (IFA) in Washington D.C. and also has spearheaded the reintroduction of the IFA’s VetFran program. Today, more than 6,500 military veterans own a franchise through the financial incentives in the VetFran program. In 2005, Dina launched the Live R.I.C.H. campaign to promote The Dwyer Group Code of Values and the themes of Respect, Integrity, Customer focus and Having fun in the process. She is the author of Values, Inc. and Live R.I.C.H.: How to build success in your company and your life with a proven Code of Values. Dina speaks to audiences around the world and credits ethics in business and in life as a foundation to true happiness.

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