Applying the Four H’s in Business and in Life

One of the things I like most about working here at Algonquin Studios is the fact that the company has a set of guiding principles “The Four H’s” – Honor, Honesty, Humility, and Humor, that I can I can apply to both my job performance and my personal life.


As receptionist for Algonquin, I try to incorporate honor into my job every day and, since answering the phone here is a large part of my job, many of my client interactions take place over the phone. I always do my best to really listen to my caller and ask questions to determine what it is they need and who they need to speak to. If the person they’re asking for is unavailable, I often ask if they’d like to speak with someone else, rather than just putting them through to voicemail. When I get a call and the caller seems stressed, I often acknowledge this fact and assure them that I’m committed to finding someone to help them as soon as possible. These might seem like little things, and really, they’re pretty basic ideas for someone trying to be a good receptionist, but it’s often the little things that get taken for granted or pushed to the side during the course of business. I try hard to honor our clients by keeping my level of service high and acting as a means of real assistance for them.

As a receptionist, I know first-hand, that people in service industries often “get lost in the shuffle” of our daily busy lives. I like to acknowledge that I appreciate what the people who serve me do, whether it’s my morning bus driver or my coffee barista. I try to honor these people on a daily basis as well, taking off my ear-buds to say “good morning” to my driver or thanking my coffee shop employee by name when picking up my daily latte.You never know when a genuine “thank you” or “good job” is going to boost that person’s mood or even change their entire day!


As the Algonquin web site states, the truth isn’t always popular, but it is respected. Isn’t that the truth? When dealing with our clients and my co-workers, if I don’t know the answer to a question, I strive to be honest about it… Even if I feel foolish at the time. I might not know why our latest office supply order is short, where our CEO is at the exact moment an important client calls, or how to best format an Excel file for a large printing job but I can do my best to find out and, if I’m honest about the steps I’ll take to do so, I know it will reflect well on me in the long run.

Of course, it’s difficult to be honest all the time, especially in “real life.” Confrontations can occur, feelings can get hurt, and relationships can be damaged when you try to tell people things they may not want to hear. I was recently given some great advice, “If you know you’re correct and are being honest, even if what you’re saying isn’t what the other person wishes to hear, then you shouldn’t lose confidence in yourself.” I’m still working on applying this to my personal life but I think it’s a good idea to apply some of our next “H” to the equation, too.


Humility is an important part of honesty, especially when emotions are at risk. As mentioned on our site, surely, somewhere in the world, someone else has discovered a better, faster, cheaper way. No matter how “right” you know you are, remembering that there are always other valid ideas, opinions, and beliefs at play is key to maintaining healthy, respectful relationships, both at work and at home.

It’s also important to remember that you can’t get very far in this world without the help and guidance of other people. Part of being humble is being thankful for the help others provide along the way acknowledging their assistance whenever you can.Thanking someone sincerely for what they do goes a long way, even when completion of the task is expected or part of their job duties.


I have to admit, humor is my favorite “H”. Laughter is such an essential part of our day here at Algonquin, I see it in the constant joking heard among my co-workers on any given day, and it’s a huge part of why I like coming to work every day. We’re like a family here and our collective sense of humor provides a bond that goes a long way in making us feel that way.

Humor lightens situations, helps us remember not to “sweat the small stuff,” and creates bonds. Often, our most treasured memories are of times of laughter and jokes. Laughter is unifying and finding things to laugh about-with co-workers,  family, and friends-can only serve to bring us closer together whether we’re working together on a client project or trying to agree on a movie on a Friday night.

Learning about the Four H’s when I first joined the Algonquin team last year gave me a new perspective on my interactions with people in both my professional life and my personal one. Applying the H’s every day, during every interaction, isn’t always easy but I believe that making a concerted effort makes me a better employee and a better person. And I’m pretty happy to have an opportunity to apply myself to both!


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