43 A PARTNERSHIP BUILT ON TRUST CHAPTER TWO making really substantial personal sacrifices to make sure this went forward. So that was really a motivator for us.” The Boards voted unanimously in favor of the merger, and in March 2000, the Member vote was nearly unanimous. Of 392 Members that voted, 387 voted yes and five said no. The merger became official on July 1, 2000 — marking the start of a new era. The name — National Information Solutions Cooper- ative — perfectly described the new company’s mission. The regional approach was officially over. Upon consolidation, the new cooperative would serve 430 Members in 46 states, resulting in over 5 million electric meters or telephone subscribers. The new name also underscored its underlying cooperative principles. “We might not have grasped all that was going to come downthepike,butputtingthingsinplaythatmadethishappen was certainly a smart move,” says Mickey Miller, President and CEO of Nolin Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation in Eliza- bethtown, Kentucky, one of CADP’s founding co-ops. Hobson and Dosch worked out their method of sharing leadership. Hobson became CEO of NISC, and Dosch was the Chief Operating Officer. In 2002, Hobson would retire, creating the opportunity for Dosch to lead the newly merged organization if the Board chose to offer him the position. With that gracious plan, Hobson and Dosch demon- strated servant leadership — placing a priority on what was best for Members and employees rather than on their personal prestige and power. In so doing, they created a model for cooperation among managers and employees. CADP and NCDC software developers took pride in their respective products, which functioned on two different operating systems with different features. Daily phone calls began, as employees gradually learned more about each other’s work. “We were in constant communication even days after it was announced,” recalls Doug Wilmes, Team Lead of Professional Services, who was at CADP before the merger. Hobsonpromisedtherewouldbenoimmediatepostmerger layoffs. He wore the NISC logo — and made it clear to his CADP colleagues that they should shove their CADP gear to the back of the closet. But the swiftest path to a unified vision for NISC came through the employee-based Shared Values Committee. Michelle Ward, now Luecal, then–Vice President of People Services, gathered six employees from the Missouri office and six from North Dakota. She began with flip charts. The first one had some ground rules: Everybody has a turn. Disagree respect- fully. Focus on the positive. Focus on the company good. To get to know each other, Luecal paired up employees and asked them to interview each other and report back to the group. That was just the beginning of a kind of soul-searching that continued through three days of meetings. Why do you work for the company? Why do you stay? How would you describe the organization? What do Members expect of it? Luecal presented the shared values of some other companies and gave examples of words that could represent a company’s values. The committee began ranking their choices. It was surprisingly easy to arrive at the top one: Integrity. The otherfivecamesoonafter:relationships,innovation,teamwork, empowerment, personal development. “What do we want to accomplish with these shared values?” Luecal asked.