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Does Your Company Wear Its Culture?

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, May 27, 2013

Do you display your company’s Core Values in your business?   Where?  Does everyone in your company to see them on a regular basis each day?  IFTI%27s core values, inside advantage, and brand promiseDo you have a War Room, or a public place where elements of your business like this, Strategy Statement, Core Purpose/Mission, Brand Promise are prominently on display?

Recently one of my clients did exactly that, displaying all three on the walls of their offices so everyone can see them.  They’d done a lot of work preparing, getting feedback and putting these together and they are rightfully proud of them.  To share these for everyone puts the message into action, however they have gone far beyond this, including recognition and reward for employees in weekly, monthly and quarterly meetings as well.   See their display on the right. 

Is culture important?  Read this short article on Brad Garlinghouse, chief executive of YouSendIt who joined YouSendIt with a mandate to turn it around. Read the changes he made in terms of culture.

Here are some statistics that suggest the critical nature of culture and employee engagement for your business.  

  • 84% of mid-size companies believe they are not using their workforces to their full potential
  • And 86% of workers are not motivated to get the job done
  • Worse, a Business Week Magazine study reported that 83% of employees believe they are in the top 10% of performers

One of the many exercises Gazelles Coaches does each quarterly strategy and planning session for our clients is a Core Values review.  Once you’ve developed your Core Values we look at Advanced Principles for Core Values. How well are Core Values alive in your organization? Here are some of the areas we suggest reviewing:

  1. Everyday Management:  Are you making your decisions, providing praises, reprimands, customer and employee issues in keeping with the intentions of your Core Values?
  2. Create Legends: How often do you develop Company Stories that demonstrate the properties of your core values.  We recommend identifying stories from employees every quarter.  A client has an annual award for employees who become Legends with their story provided at the Annual Meeting.
  3. Recruitment & Selection: In your recruiting and hiring methods do you use Core Values for determining if they are the right people for your culture?
  4. Orientation: Often neglected or forgotten do you emphasis your Core Values in training new people?
  5. Appraisal Process: Review Core Values actions?  If you’re not asking or reviewing here, what’s the value of having core values in your company?
  6. Recognition & Reward: Reward at quarterly meetings or more frequently. At our weekly meeting this past week the owner presented a Core Value award certificate to one of the team members!  Keep Core Values alive!
  7. Internal Newsletter: If you publish an internal newsletter a Core Values corner is a great way to keep your core values in front of your staff.
  8. Quarterly Themes: Focus on 1 Core Value for your theme for the quarter.  Great way to emphasize your values.

If you’d like a copy of these please send me an emai with Advanced Core Values in the Subject line.

How many of your people would you estimate are being driven by your purpose, core values and strategy in your business?  

In Patrick Lencioni’s book The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business;  Lencioni believes the single greatest advantage any company can achieve is organizational health. Yet it is ignored by most leaders even though it is simple, free, and available to anyone who wants it.  

Further real statistical evidence for the value of culture is found in Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World's Greatest Companies by Jim Stengel.  Maximum growth and high ideals are not incompatible. They’re inseparable. The data from a ten-year-growth study of more than 50,000 brands around the world show that companies with ideals of improving people’s lives at the center of all they do outperform the market by a huge margin. An investment in the Stengel 50, the top 50 businesses in Stengel’s ten-year-growth study, would have been 400 percent more profitable Grow   Stengel 50 vs. the Sthan an investment in the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500By operating according to the principles in this framework, the world’s best businesses achieve growth three times or more that of the competition in their categories.

The central principle of the new framework is the importance of having a brand ideal, a shared goal of improving people’s lives. A brand ideal is a business’s essential reason for being, the higher-order benefit it brings to the world. A brand ideal of improving people’s lives is the only sustainable way to recruit, unite, and inspire all the people a business touches, from employees to customers. It is the only thing that enduringly connects the core beliefs of the people inside a business with the fundamental human values of the people the business serves. Without that connection, without a brand ideal, no business can truly excel. 

On Wednesday of this week and at every monthly meeting the president asks his leadership team to provide answers to what is the company’s strategy statement, core purpose and core values.  What does that mean to you?  Why is he asking and how important do you feel it is for setting the tone of these meetings?

These pieces of your business are at the core of emotional engagement and motivation for employees.  If not emphasized your business will lack energy. This surge of motivational impact is absolutely necessary today to drive your business.  The reminder at each meeting indicates the commitment, dedication, interest and intent this company has to keep these alive in driving the business.  It’s the reason they do business and they want their people to live them!

I’ve used this quote before several times, “..Business needs a lifting purpose greater than the struggle for materialism.”  - Herbert Hoover

What’s yours?

Some ideas on sales suggest that consultative selling and the way we go about is changing.  We’ll look at a What Sales Winners Do Differently and the surprising differences between sellers who win the sale and the second-place finishers.

Topics: Core Values, Core Purpose, Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the Wo, The Advantage, Business Culture, How to Motivate Employees

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Certified Gazelles Coach

Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
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