A few years ago, something happened at ITW that really made Jay and I redouble our efforts to build a company culture that would be the embodiment of a team.

In 2007 we lost 3 important, longstanding ’employees’ (I use that word because apparently they weren’t really part of a team).  In hindsight, let’s say that they didn’t share our core values and decided to go out on their own.  Now this event is not the reason for this post … but it was a driver for it.

After their departure, we heard a rumour going around that Jason and I were looking to get out of ITW; that we were planning to take all the money and abandon the team.  This was obviously utter bullshit .. but it got Jay and I thinking.  We wanted to make a statement – not a speech … not a letter … a solemn promise with our hands on the good book just seemed empty.  We wanted something dramatic and permanent.  Something that might demonstrate we were in it for the long haul; that we really were committed to the company’s vision and more importantly, committed this team.

Jay and I were attending Citrix Synergy in LasVegas with a few of our closest clients.  At a casino table one night, somebody made a comment we had gotten used to hearing; that we are always wearing the ITW brand: our logo on the left side of our shirts.  Another friend cracked a joke, “I expect if you peeled that shirt back, you’d see the logo right there on their chests.”

Eureka!  That was the statement we were looking for.

We decided right then and there to brand ourselves … literally!  We stood up, went to the taxi stand and asked where the best tattoo place was.  We ended up at Hart and Huntington in the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel.  We signed the forms assuring we were sober and that was that.  We made that commitment to brand ourselves- an inward and outward demonstration of our commitment to the ITW team.

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