Why a Sushi Story Made Me Reflect on AP’s Company Values

Why a Sushi Story Made Me Reflect on AP’s Company Values


You never know where inspiration is going to come from. For me, it was while watching the movie, East Side Sushi (highly recommend).

In the movie, an earnest, hard-working Latina woman named, Juana discovers that she has passion for making sushi while working in a Japanese restaurant – and she’s determined to become a sushi chef.

I’m sure you can guess the spoiler alert. Although she’s gifted, inventive, determined and a fast-learner, the traditional-minded Japanese restaurant owner denies her request to apply for the open sushi chef position because a) she’s a woman and b), she’s not Asian.

While I watched this scene unfold, I couldn’t help but feel a deep sense of appreciation for our company culture, core values and operating principles.

The AP Way

At AP, if you want something – be it an opportunity to expand your knowledge and skill sets, move into another department, advance in your career, etc. – you are supported and encouraged to do so.

In East Side Sushi, Juana made a very compelling case for why she deserved to be out front, making and serving beautiful sushi to the restaurant’s patrons. But the owner simply responds with, “You were hired for the kitchen.”

The notion that one must stay in the position that they were hired for, even when they show great promise to do so much more and add significant value to the company, is not only unacceptable at AP, it’s also considered bad business.

When you have team members who take the initiative to learn more and do more, are tenacious and exhibit higher-level skills and qualities than the position they were originally hired for, it’s a win-win for both your company and your employee.

They’ll be happier, more motivated and add more value.  And your company will reap the benefits of having a driven, committed, high-performing employee.

Principled Core Values

AP doesn’t just verbally communicate that they will do whatever they can to help ensure team members are in the right seat and the right time – they’ve written Core Values and Operating Principles that back that promise up.

For example, one of our core values is “Own It.” This means that our team members take accountability for outcomes and step-up to the opportunities in front of us.

Had this been a core value of the Japanese restaurant, Juana wouldn’t have been shot down when she bet on her abilities, rose to the occasion and declared her ambition to be a sushi chef.

Juana also showed a lot of resilience, which is one of our operating principles. She faced challenge after challenge, but maintained a fierce resolve. She chose to demonstrate confidence, determination and used her mistakes as opportunities to improve.

Say Sayonara to a Fishy Culture

Whether you run a business or work for one, your company’s culture, core values and operating principles are as important as accounting, sales and HR.

If you want to get the most out of your employees, encourage them to speak up about their career aspirations – and support them when they do. And if you haven’t created written core values for your company, take the time to do so. They speak to who you are as an organization, your culture, your values and who you look to hire.

If you’re an employee who wants to advance in their career, take the initiative to strengthen your skill sets and demonstrate your value. Don’t just expect the company to recognize your contributions or know what your aspirations are. Clearly communicate your goals and take proactive steps to reach them. If you’re doing all the right things and are still not being given opportunities to advance, then it may be time to look elsewhere for a company that will recognize what you bring to the table.

To learn more about Acceleration Partners’ award-winning workplace and review open positions, please visit our Careers page.