Getting Core Values right in a business is the #1 way to build a strong and enduring Culture and is the foundation upon which an enterprise is built. Having a list of cool Core Values on a website – and really integrating them into the daily life of the organization based on intentional actions – are two different things.
EFI, an Insight CXO member with 80+ employees, finally nailed their Core Values and actions plans this week during their Q3 Quarterly Planning Session. We started the process in January, and I thought it would be helpful to share what a process can look like in reality. Month 5 is where this gets powerful.
Month 1 – Learn what a Core Value is and use sticky notes to generate a list of potential values.
Month 2 – Review the list and test it against the following questions.
- Are the Core Values alive in the company today?
- Would you fire an offender for repeated violations?
- Would you take an economic hit to defend them?
Some values are great attributes, but don’t make the Core Values cut.
Month 3 – Finalize the 3-5 final Core Values. We know the right values are identified, but the wording is not perfect.
Month 4 – Get the wording right for the Core Values, and get clarity on the specific behaviors and actions that support or violate each one. Begin thinking about how the values will be integrated into the company.
Month 5 – Roadblock!!! EFI’s planning team was supposed to start implementing the Core Values, but even though the values LOOKED right, they did not FEEL right to the team. The team was concerned the employees would not embrace the values and might even reject them. This is a common FEAR in rolling out Core Values that nobody talks about.
Here’s where EFI knocked it out of the park. Admittedly, the team was a bit discouraged, so they really dug and – with great focus – re-worded the values. They did not change the values, just the labels. Here’s what they came up with:
MAKE A DIFFERENCE – This is their overarching, one-phrase Core Value.
Respect every Individual
Lead with Humility
Focus on the Improvement Process
Assure Quality at the Source
To help everyone remember, they turned the first letter of the Core Values into this mnemonic: Real Leaders Find A Way.
Month 6 – Create a list and an action plan to integrate the Core Values into the company with real excitement. I will report back in a follow-up blog post on the cool and innovative ways they implement the Core Values.
EFI’s Core Purpose is To Inspire Through Innovation … I can’t wait to see what they do next!
My “One Word Close” at the end of our Q3 Quarterly meeting was GRATEFUL. I’m grateful to be EFI’s coach and get to witness a team who really cares about their employees and was unwilling to move forward with Core Values that did not 100% meet their standards.
Sometimes as a coach I learn more from my members than they learn from me. And I’m very grateful for that.