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  • Values – a critical element in the equation of success

    When a team or company grows, at some point they find themselves asking the following questions:  Why are we not making as much forward progress as we think we are capable of?  Why is performance stalling?  Why are we operating in silos?  Why are we not moving in the same direction?  At the heart of these questions is the notion of values.

    As leaders, we are just one of many people in a company.  We certainly cannot be part of every discussion or decision, nor should we ever want to be.  Rather we need to cultivate a culture to nurture and foster the behavior that is needed for personal and company growth and success.

    Developing a set of common values provides both a common vocabulary and understanding of the expectations for each and every employee.   Values provide individuals with a framework for approaching day-to-day responsibilities and decisions.  Eventually, it becomes the way in which individuals respond to any challenge.

    So how do you get started?

    [1] Do a little research to understand how other companies use their values to enhance success. Before you engage in the effort of developing values for your organization, you need to really believe they will be beneficial.  Many company’s values are easily accessible on-line.  Here are some of my favorites.  Check them out and see if they resonate with you.

    YAHOO!:  http://docs.yahoo.com/info/values/

    Gemma Power Systems:  http://www.gemmapower.com/index.php?id=26#/

    Zappos:  http://about.zappos.com/our-unique-culture/zappos-core-values/

    Google:  http://www.google.com/about/company/philosophy/

    [2] Pull together a group of employees to create the values.  Creating a set of values for an organization cannot be done by one person.  Let the entire organization know that you are launching the effort.  Be inclusive and allow feedback.  The more you involve others, the more support will be given by all employees.

    [3] Once developed communicate the values constantly.  In order for the values to become part of an organization’s daily culture, they must be discussed continually.  This can be achieved by leaders explaining actions in context of the values.  This makes the values come to life.

    [4]  Do not accept behavior that is in conflict with the values.  In order for a culture to truly develop you must praise desired behavior but most importantly you must confront behavior that is not consistent with the values.  To respect an individual’s dignity, this may be done in private.  Leaders lose their effectiveness if they do not address behavior that is at odds with expectations.

    [5] Periodically seek feedback on the values.  Feedback allows leaders to make course corrections as necessary.  Ask a diverse group of people for input.  It can be very instructive to ask customers or vendors what they perceive.

    The biggest benefit of a common set of organizational values is to build a culture that allows employees to approach issues and decisions with a common set of ground rules.

    Published on August 17, 2012 · Filed under: Finance;
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