Article featuring Dan Hesse's commitment to responsibility, long-term goal setting, and ethical culture originally appeared in Corporate Responsibility Magazine, the leading voice of the corporate responsibility profession and the publisher of the 100 Best Corporate Citizen’s List. Published February 11, 2014.
I was going to meet the man, and in the process found some amazing things about this humble giant of a technology company. They have a program called “Introduction to the Code of Conduct” where new employees role-play scenarios to ensure they make ethical decisions. They have an eco tour called “The Sustainability Walking Tour” of the LEED-certified buildings on the sprawling 200-acre campus.
The focus of their corporate responsibility platform is called “Sprint Good Works” and contains programs and goals in three categories: people, product, and planet. Since 2008, the company has refined, achieved, and reported on their goals involving a host of initiatives for: employees (25 percent participation in the Sprint Get Fit Challenge and an aggregate loss in 2012 of 21,994 lbs); community (voluntarism in 2012 delivering 650,000 meals to the needy and raising $2.7 million for United Way); product (reducing distracted driving); and • planet (recycling of phones, reducing paper, and water usage).
These programs are all part of a 10-year program for improvement. The amazing thing is that Sprint is ahead of most of those goals with four years left to finish. Many of these initiatives grew out of the vision of Dan Hesse, who was given the task of merging the culture of legacy Sprint and legacy Nextel. He also has a deeply committed leadership team he oversees.
The culture he has helped foster has turned Sprint into one of the most responsible companies in the world focused on setting standards for recycling of mobile phones, accessibility for handicapped and the aged, and customer safety. However, one has to applaud not just Dan, but the tens of thousands of employees who personally bought into the importance of these concepts. So this story is as much about Sprint—and how it has joined together as a team to implement this vision—as it is about the achievements of a single employee, who happens to be CEO.
Here is a rare glimpse into the forces and experiences that formed the character of one of the most successful and responsible CEOs in modern business.