Our mission and values aren’t just bullet points, but are best articulated by reading a document called the MANA-festo. The first few lines are below, click the link to read the entire mana-festo…
THE PREAMBLE TO THE MANA-FESTO
The MANA ECONOMIC PHILOSOPHY
Traditional companies operate on an economic model that focuses on profit maximization. At MANA we do not reject the profit model, and while we find the term “social entrepreneurs” a tad overused these days, we are a proud social entrepreneurial venture” because we place equal emphasis and focus on purpose maximization. (Check out for benefit organizations, B corporations, and low profit LLC’s for other names for the same thing, business models that we think tend to exude the MANA Ethos.) In other words while traditional companies measure their success by counting money, we do it by also counting meaning…… (end here and make the rest on another link)
Our ROI is measured not only in traditional ways that involve basic accounting and basic, long-held business principles, but also in other non-monetary factors. We find value in giving back to society. This is our “pay” and we think it is both fun and rewarding to seek purpose with the same fervor that our grandfathers and fathers companies sought profit. Structure? We don’t have share holders who hold our feet to the fire, we have a board who pushes us to excellence, motivated by the incredible joy that comes in serving the kids we serve. We don’t think profit is bad, in fact we see it as necessary to sustain our mission. We just see profit as insufficient to motivate us to get up and go to work every day. Not everyone needs to operate like us, but it works for us and, more importantly, we think it works for the children who need our products to survive. Since our mission and values can be successfully accomplished as a non-profit entity, we structured our company as such. Thus we are the MANA Village, a community that just happens to be a company.
Other companies refer to their people as “employees”, or a “team” or “shareholders”. We call our MANA family “the MANA village.” Villages need to be economically sustainable to thrive. We want our village to be a community that also happens to be a company.
- MANA’s business plan is simple: Keep the costs low. Pass the savings on to the customer. Our END customer is a malnourished kid.
- While a non-profit model and structure is not a bad thing, we are convinced that a non-profit attitude will not allow us to meet our goals of sustainability or reach our dreams for growth.
- MANA is a nutrition company, Nutrition to us is about living at the crossroads of agriculture and health care. Health care is largely a humanitarian act but agriculture is largely about hard work and good planning. Both have practical aspects, and both depend on faith.
- Three “S” questions matter: 1- Can our idea be scaled quickly? 2- Is it sustainable? 3- Is the overall problem solvable?
MANA VILLAGE VALUES
We value leadership: Leaders at MANA mark themselves as leaders by serving others.
We value meaning in work: We all get paid to work here, but we only invite people into the MANA village who will work here for meaning as well as money.
We value family: We want to village to promote healthy personal lives, marriages, kids and relationships.
We value culture: The way things look and feel are important.
We value change and creative solutions: Big ideas are rewarded.
We value learning and growing: We measure & evaluate performance
We value basic business principles: Basic & boring things are vital.
We value faith:We are not a “faith-based” entity but we believe in God & serve Him. We believe God does not seek credit for most of the good work that He does, therefore we will not wear our faith on our sleeves or brand ourselves as faith-based.
To maintain this ETHOS we challenge ourselves with these questions:
- In all areas, what is the incremental evidence that we are serious?
- In our attempts to promote our product and dreams, can we always answer: Why now? Why us? And with what tangible results?
THE MANA TEAM AND CULTURE
MANA is about nutrition and nourishing children… not just saving lives but keeping brains growing. To accomplish that goal we want to foster an environment that professionally, spiritually, emotionally and intellectually feeds and nourishes a motivated team. So while our job at MANA is certainly about aggressively gaining market share…just like other companies, it is equally about keeping the MANA ETHOS vibrant and alive so we can be healthy and nourished and growing. We also believe that if we want a wider world to catch on to our vision we can’t be a mal-nourished nutrition company. Malnourished kids are those who are so deficient that they have ceased to be hungry, accordingly we do not want to cease to be hungry.
5 SPECIFIC THINGS WE DO IN THE VILLAGE
- Culture: We will grow with an increasing focus on our village-wide culture. We will track it and we will be purposeful in living out the idea that: “we want our village to be a community that also happens to be a company”
- Big Picture: We will focus on what is the means and what is the end? The means is having adequate profit and returns in order to build a place that is a rewarding place to work. The end is to serve as many kids as possible over a long, sustainable time frame.
- Work/Life Balance: We will strive to engineer our MANA work and our personal work.
- Dream: We will dream big and speak our dreams out loud.
- Grow people: We prepare our people for life and continuously improve them. As much as we hope no one will leave, we want to empower to pursue dreams within or outside. Accordingly we will never be stingy and protective of MANA over their personal good and professional growth. At the same time, our personal good and growth will not supersede the good of hungry kids.
THE MANA MOTTO
We are not jerks. MANA will honor better human beings, not just better business people.
Here are some specific and measurable things that define what it means to not be a jerk.
Village members are called to be:
Committed – To a set of values and to an environment. How can we insure that these are not tactical and situational but palpable and real?
Personally Secure- (Part one of humility) Everyone needs to be secure enough with themselves and with our team that they can be corrected at all levels of leadership and be humble when things are pointed out.
Accountable– (Part two of humility) In addition to saying, “this went right and kudos to you!” we need to be able to say… “this went wrong and I own it”. Such a transparent environment by everyone makes the village more open to the vulnerability of accountability. If both successes and failures are clearly communicated we can learn and get better.
Communicative– If we don’t talk about who we are, people are left to make it up for themselves. Town hall meetings help people express the voice of the village. We are developing a structure where, as the MANA village grows, we can hold town halls, and any question can be asked.
Caring– The old, trite (but true) saying is…”they don’t care what you know until they know you care.” This is at the heart of the “not a jerk Ethos”.
Serving– (caring in action) As for our leaders, the village needs to say, “I will follow these people, I trust this people, because they serve the cause I love and because they serve me and my family.”
No matter our role in the village: from board member, to MANA Fitzgerald to our members of our corporate team… these expectations apply to all who wish to join in our effort. Please provide your feedback for additions to or improvements of this MANA-festo.
Welcome to the MANA village
Letter to new employees:
Welcome to the MANA Village! We bet you’ve never worked anywhere quite like the MANA. Since our founders have spent a good deal of time in African villages, in a way we have modeled ourselves after one. Villages are sustainable, they have to be…not because the word “sustainable” is suddenly cool and trendy, but because the opposite of “sustainable” means “dead” in Africa. So people are savvy, resourceful, they make things out of old tires and they waste nothing. That’s the intent of calling our company the MANA”village”. First off, to reach a common goal by offering our various strengths, experiences and interests. Secondly to help incubate successful young entrepreneurs and push them out of the nest. Finally to share a common ethos, that regardless of what we all do for MANA, “how” we do it matters deeply… Integrity, excellence, humility and common good are the sort of things that make any village a safe, nurturing and fun place to be.