Core Values Discovery Organizational core values are a primary determinant of culture, employee satisfaction and business performance. This article addresses six core value topics that CEOs and business executives should know about. Unbeknownst to many business leaders, organizational core values are actually a primary determinant of culture, employee satisfaction and business performance. This article explore[s] six core value topics that business executives should know and care about in order to build stronger cultures and employee engagement in the organization. Executive Street ES _1443cb08-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 At Executive Street, we feature articles and opinions about the small business community. Our goal is to keep you up-to-date on topics surrounding business today by providing advice and resources from accomplished individuals in multiple facets of business. To achieve this goal, we’ve assembled a community of the world’s best thought leaders in topics including management, marketing, operations and leadership. Small Business Community Thought Leaders in Management Thought Leaders in Marketing Thought Leaders in Operations Thought Leaders in Leadership CEOs Business Executives ... stronger cultures and employee engagement in the organization. _1443d580-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 To document a process by which core values can be discovered. _1443d6d4-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 Organizational Culture 1. Core values are the building blocks of organizational culture. The core values of an organization are the foundation of the corporate culture. Organizational core values do more than just promote ethical business practices. The system of core values that a business owns will shape the culture of the enterprise, the decision-making criteria of your managers and the actions of your employees. The more strongly defined the organization’s core values, the more likely that this value system will serve as a code of conduct that promotes and guides strategically-aligned behaviors within managers and employees. Cultural Improvement 2. The process of defining, measuring, and improving core values can be an excellent vehicle for improving organizational culture. There are many benefits to be realized by utilizing core values to drive cultural change, but perhaps the following are most significant: - The process defines a shared set of beliefs and commitments to the way the employees of a business want to behave and treat each other - The process guides decisions and emphasizes what’s important to the business as plans are developed to change and improve the organization - Measuring provides a way to quantify perceptions (ratings), understand context and experiences (comments), and understand which core values appear to most influence overall belief system satisfaction - The process enables organizations to track progress, both formally and informally Common Language 3. Core values provide a common language to address unacceptable behaviors in a less threatening way. Core values help fill in the spaces where HR policies have gaps. The story of an organization with a rumor-spreading employee comes to mind. It is shared here to illustrate the point that core values reinforce desired behaviors and help manage those that fall out of line with expectations. Several instances occurred where an otherwise productive and valued staff member created office turmoil as a result of spreading rumors about other employees. When the employee was tracked down as the source of the rumors, the area manager stepped in to confront the individual and put a stop to it. The employee insisted that the rumors were true and that no company policy had been violated in talking about other employees in this manner. Fortunately, the manager was able to point to the organization’s core values as a reason to stop the negative behavior. The employee was reminded of two core values being violated (paraphrased here): - Employees will be open, honest and respectful in both internal and external communications - Employees’ actions will contribute to creating a positive work environment The employee agreed with the manager and stopped the negative behavior. This story demonstrates an example where core values helped a manager address a pattern of unacceptable employee behavior in a non-threatening way that defused and rectified a bad situation. Nonthreatening Methods Priorities 4. Core values guide decisions and emphasize what is important to the business as the organization continues to change and improve. Organizational leaders need their employees to act as their proxy, serving as delegates of the business that promote a shared set of common objectives and possess the same organizational DNA as top-level managers. Management must be able to know that decisions made and actions taken by employees will protect the organization and portray it well. “Values-aligned” managers and employees benefit the entire organization by demonstrating predictable and favorable decision-making capabilities and behaviors that are reflective of the executive management mindset. When management provides the core values “compass” to help influence and guide behavior, those closest to the action in the organization can respond with appropriate decisions and actions. Change Improvement Predictibility Performance 5. Core values influence business performance. Organizations with strong cultures rooted in shared core values tend to have much happier employees. Happier employees help businesses be more productive. In fact, there is empirical evidence from the Strategy Institute For Thought Leadership that suggests core values directly correlate with business performance. Indexed survey data related to core value perceptions and employee satisfaction can be viewed relative to business financial performance – all indexed in relative terms on a scale of one to ten for five different companies... businesses with higher core value index scores outperformed those with lower core value index scores. Likewise, employee satisfaction was noticeably higher in those same organizations. Happiness Discovery 6. If core values have not yet been established, they can be discovered by following this process Values List Develop lists of values _1443d774-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 1 Personal Values Each member of the leadership team should develop his or her own internal (personal) values list. _1443d80a-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 1.1 Leadership Team Members b4b1e6e0-754f-4366-85e2-e003d5a35223 Corporate Values Each member of the leadership team should develop his or her own corporate values list. _1443d8b4-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 1.2 Leadership Team Members 801261ac-64a2-4c66-9e71-296ac2f4d168 Reconciliation of Values Reconcile / Vote / Rank [the lists of values] _1443d94a-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 2 Individual Reconciliation Each individual should reconcile the differences between the personal and corporate values. _1443d9e0-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 2.1 Leadership Team Members Ask, “Do the differences make sense and are they justified?” ee78f024-eb9d-424b-b26d-34309ffaa11b Refinement & Consolidation Refine the individual lists if needed, then as a group – consolidate the corporate values into one list. _1443da80-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 2.2 63cd6fdf-0a9d-4883-83f6-9544a8169d9d Finalization of the List As a group, vote on the corporate values to determine the finalists. _1443db20-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 2.3 Leadership Team There may be disconnects and disagreements, so the leadership team may not need 100% agreement on the organizational core values. Rather the vast majority of the leadership team (80-90%) should agree that the values are not desires / aspirations but authentic core values of the business. 5489a90b-1afc-48cc-9cff-22c2a740c9aa Business Scenario Testing Test values against various tough business scenarios to make sure they hold up _1443dbc0-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 3 Authenticity Make certain the values are authentic. _1443dc74-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 3.1 - It is VERY easy to confuse an organizations aspirations for core value versus the real authentic core values. Make certain they are authentic by testing the following: - Have any of the values been violated by one of the current executive management team? If so, it cannot be a core value. The reality is that it is not enough just to confirm that the organizational core values have not been violated by the exec team. The group should also be certain that the organization or leadership team has not allowed for or ignored the existence of the violation within in an employee or set of employees. - Additionally, the leadership team should look back as far as the employee set that will receive the core values can remember and look for incidents in which those employees may see disconnects between the core values established and “real life” behaviors. - Given extreme business scenarios, will the organization be able to adhere to the values? If any might be compromised, they should not be core values. 4d4eedb8-b1ee-4fc6-9892-3e2926c5c347 Refinement Refine the list as needed. _1443dd14-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 3.2 d1170d9e-bc42-40b3-a580-bc66169f3ea8 Behavioral Definition Define behaviors that exemplify the final core values. _1443ddbe-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 4 Behaviors List Compile a list of expected behaviors for each core value _1443de7c-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 4.1 b235c830-bac8-4431-8229-c0e2ef0a8ab8 Organizational Roles Consider different roles within the organization and what behaviors might look like within those contextual settings _1443df26-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 4.2 d3edbc68-cf2e-478d-b989-a565d2105f34 Behavioral Metrics Determine measurements for the core value behaviors. _1443dfd0-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 5 Measurement Methods Examine methods that can be used to measure the behaviors. _1443e08e-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 5.1 0e81b0ff-4d7a-41ae-a9a0-1d7369c20ca4 Indices Consider indexes for employee satisfaction, productivity and performance and other metrics that can be captured through normal processes or newly developed surveys. _1443e138-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 5.2 f3380096-147b-41b5-9eff-990702720484 Communication Communicate about the core values. _1443e1ec-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 6 Group Discussion As a group, discuss what stories can be shared that exemplify the core values and associated behaviors. _1443e2f0-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 6.1 cfd37542-03df-42e5-b084-a83104b40ec9 Story Identification Identify stories for each of the core values. _1443e3b8-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 6.1.1 88f4dea6-55ce-4923-bed3-a8928414efb0 Information & Education Communicate the values and stories with employees to inform and educate _1443e476-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 6.2 Employees 099cfca8-7231-418f-a831-324ee4e3baa8 Values Team Identify and establish a core group of trusted employees that exemplify those newly established core values. _1443e5de-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 6.2.1 Values Team aa4c5058-c1b1-4b44-81ea-37fd912740e3 Communications Strategy Define the communications strategy and plan to begin rolling those values out to the organization. _1443e6b0-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 6.2.2 8e3ec4db-5b44-4999-896c-eec61753f6c8 Roles & Timeline Determine what needs to be done, by whom and when. _1443e76e-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 703edda8-fb77-43db-85df-be8a40dfa08c Leadership Roles & Accountability Identify the leadership team member accountable for making sure that the core values are rolled out to the organization as well as what responsibilities the other readership take to ensuring the success. _1443e868-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 c2bc42c4-6b11-4c5a-bf03-bf5fb8e32ead Initiation & Interaction Decide how the newly established team will begin working and interacting with the employees to reinforce the core values for all. _1443e926-efde-11e1-b55a-bdb87fb1eeb4 64440304-72f1-4d1e-9ee9-ec5307988822 2012-08-25 2012-08-26 Owen Ambur Submit error.