hat’s the value of values?
Most organizations have them; often paying large sums of money to have consultants help develop them. Most organizations list their values on their website and perhaps on posters or other documents with the hopes that employees will read them and act accordingly. But is that enough?
I remember my first real exposure to the concept of institutional values – it was when I was a new manager at Bell, I can’t imagine how much they spent on the launch of a set of new core values. For what it’s worth, it had a lasting impact on me, even though I can only remember one of them:
To me this value meant (and still does), being fanatical, obsessive (in a good way) about the customer and the company. It meant having laser sharp focus on the customer and the work. Being driven, stopping at nothing. Sounds exhausting doesn’t it? Ironically, it isn’t. The more passionate intensity you have; the more energized you become.
Core values should be developed to align with and support your vision. If you and your employees walk the talk, they will shape your culture. But stating values isn’t enough. You know what passionate intensity meant to me – did it mean the same thing to the other 60,000 Bell employees? Did their actions demonstrate the behaviours associated with the value? Explaining the values might seem like a waste of time, after all you have intelligent people in your organization who should know what words like integrity, excellence, respect and trust mean. But do they know what you expect the behaviours to look like?
MCE’s core values are:
Commitment to Excellence
Diverse Business Acumen
We developed these values as a team and we spent time discussing what each value would look like in terms of demonstrated behaviours. For example, integrity to us is leading by example, placing high importance on following through with our commitments and ensuring we remain accountable.
You can’t do this activity only once. You can’t develop value statements and never revisit them. They need to be reinforced at team meetings, during performance reviews and when new employees join your organization.
At MCE, we practise what we preach. You may recall from previous newsletters that we have two new employees, Erin Volk and Doug Daniels, and soon we will be adding a third. We will be spending time at a team meeting soon to review our values and share how each of us has demonstrated them. I believe this is a significant part of developing our culture; a culture that attracts and retains the best employees who will in turn do the best for our customers. I invite your feedback on how we are doing.