If you visit any functioning organization around the country you will typically find a picture, plaque or poster depicting the company’s Core Values. Words like- RESPECT- TEAMWORK- INTEGRITY- SERVICE- TRUST and many others will usually fill up those spaces. I found a good barometer of the organization is to ask anyone you come into contact with if they are even aware of the organization’s Core Values.
The challenge is even when we are aware of the current values of the company, if we can’t describe the behaviors we would need to see demonstrated on a consistent basis to support those values than they are really meaningless and just words on a wall.
One of the tasks I encourage those in senior leadership roles to take on is first to decide if the values represented on the walls are still valid and currently encapsulate the brand of the organization. Many times, the Core Values need a refresher or a complete overhaul.
Once we’ve agreed on the current state of the Values then the real work begins.
In my coaching practice, one of the first things I ask my individual clients to think about is their personal Core Values or Brand. What do you stand for? What is most important to you? What do want people to say about you after they experience your personal brand?
Once you’ve decided on how you wish to be perceived then it’s time to get your personal brand into alignment with the company. How does your personal brand support the values of your organization? What behaviors are you demonstrating on a consistent basis that would cause your team to believe that you fully buy into the values of the company?
After you’ve decided on this it’s easier to identify the gaps in performance and where the work will need to be done. Where are we hitting the mark as an organization? Where are we missing that mark? How have I demonstrated and effectively communicated those values and expectations? Am I truly walking the talk as a leader?
For example- let’s take the common core value of Respect. What behaviors would you need to see demonstrated on a consistent basis to feel as though you and your company were living and breathing this particular value?
Things like, saying good morning, responding to emails in a timely fashion, cleaning up your workspace, giving a genuine thank you for jobs well done, using mistakes as learning opportunities, accepting responsibility when we make the mistake in the first place, listening to others ideas, or putting down your smart phone and actually having a conversation with a co-worker. Are we poviding the same level of service to our internal teams as we do to our most valued clients and customers.
These are real world behaviors that would cause someone to believe that Respect is more than just a word on the wall. This also requires that we put some of ourselves and our own personal brand into the core value.
Ask yourself this week:
What behaviors do I demonstrate on a consistent basis that support our core values?
What is my personal brand and how have I aligned it with my company?
Where are the gaps in my organization that need to be addressed in order for me to feel as though we are living and breathing our core values?
What can I do this week to make sure that our values aren’t becoming just “words on a wall”?
Thoughts for the week:
It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are. -Roy Disney
Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave them all over everything you do. -Elvis Presley
Integrity is choosing your thoughts and actions based on values rather than personal gain. –Unknown
Nobody cares about leadership when you are winning. -Bo Schembechler
If you don’t stick to your values when they are being tested, then they’re not values: They’re hobbies– Jon Stewart
Your teams and your children do what you do, not what you say. What messages are you sending to them? Coach Tim