We Value our Clients
Quality is the Most Important
We Go the Extra Mile
It’s not uncommon to see these statements on the walls of an organization. On occasion, a great photograph of a mountain climber or an eagle accompanies them.
During a recent visit to a friend’s new business location, he took great care to show me how the values of his company were part of their new décor. They were strategically posted in the lobby, the break-room, training room, and the hallway.
It’s as if by putting them everywhere an employee can see them, the words would soak into their being and exude through their behavior.
“So what,“ I said. “I like the clever inspirational quotes juxtaposed with the company logo, but what good are they?”
“Wait a minute,” he responded. “We also cover our Mission, Principals and Values during our new hire orientation. Our CEO even makes it part of his/her presentation. Furthermore, these words were carefully chosen by our leadership team during a long and intensive leadership retreat.”
“So how are they lived out within your company? What’s integrity look like around here? How do you show value to your clients?” I asked.
“Well, we know it when we see it,” He responded.
“Do you?” I pressed.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT OUR CORE VALUES ARE?
I’ve had multiple conversations like this with leaders of many organizations.
For many companies, the mission and values are discussed (if at all) during new employee orientation, then left to be interpreted by the individual employee. It’s up to them to internalize the values and turn them into behavior.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a waste of time to discuss them, but it is not enough.
Companies need to implement strategies, to operationalize the behavior that validates those values. They need to put behavior behind those values. Leaders must ask the tough questions.
What does it look like when an employee “goes the extra mile” or acts with “integrity”? Absent direction, it’s left to the employee to decide. Once the behavior is defined, it can be recognized…. and once it’s recognized it will be repeated.
And that’s the key.