As a reminder, the most important thing learned in this process is that I don’t have to try to live my values. I always live my values. Everyone does. What we don’t do is admit to ourselves what they really are. For most of us, what we call our values is really just a statement of best intentions.
Our real values are played out each day whether we like it or not. The POWER comes from discarding the misconception about what those really are and stating accurately for ourselves and for those around us the truth about who we are. The absence of that truth is the root of the lack of authenticity we see in ourselves and in others. We “try” to be what we say we are and those around us can tell when we’re faking it. It’s the most important lesson I’ve learned in my life.
The result of the process was a set of 9 core values that became the foundation of a values based management program that empowered explosive growth and productivity.
The first four were:
- We Value Ideas
- We Value Mutual Respect
- We Value Excellence And Quality
- We Value Productivity And Profitability
The following is the unedited version of the last five values that each employee was expected to commit themselves to living in the workplace. Each value is explained and then an example is given for how to live the value.
We value integrity: we make and keep our commitments:
We define integrity as doing what we say we will do. Ours is a world where commitments must be made and KEPT every day. We must meet deadline schedules – no matter what. And so we value meeting commitments in every aspect of our business. Our best efforts are commendable. Our results are measurable. We are judged, valued, respected and rewarded based on our results. In the final analysis, effort in the absence of results has little meaning – or value. It is important that everyone in our organization truly learns and lives the meaning of making and keeping commitments. A person and an organization that does what it says it will do are a person and an organization that can be trusted. It goes beyond honesty. It’s about reliability, dependability, certainty. People who exhibit integrity earn respect as a result.
- Living Our Value: Learn the difference between expressions of good intentions and commitments.Statements like, “I’ll try my best,” or, “I’ll do it as soon as I can,” or, “This shouldn’t take too long” are expressions of good intentions, and they are not commitments. The language of commitment sounds like, “I’ll have this done in two hours, no matter what,” or, “You need this by tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. I will have it for you by then.” And then meeting those commitments. It is about knowing what it takes to produce a result when it is needed so that resources (people, time, equipment, etc.) can be obtained and managed to achieve the agreed upon result. It is about knowing (as much as you can) and not guessing. It is about really listening and respecting the person asking and not giving someone an easy answer just to get rid of him or her for the moment.
We value enjoying our work and ourselves:
We believe that productivity and enjoyment can go hand-in-hand. We value finding ways to make that happen. And we value people who bring that spirit to their jobs and to our culture. What we do has great significance. It is important work and should be enjoyed. We work hard. We deserve to enjoy it.
- Living Our Value: Stress the JOY in enjoyment. Joy can be found in learning and mastering skills, in creating innovative new ways to do things, in becoming world class in your field, in knowing that you are making a difference.
- Joy can come from broadening and deepening your understanding of people who may think and act differently than you. Look for ways to put JOY into your work and your relationships. When you find ways to do that – share them.
We value teamwork and team players:
We believe that team goals and needs take precedence over individual goals and needs. As the old saying goes, there is no “I” in team. We place a very high value on people working together for the good of the whole. We value shared learning. We set each other up for success, not for failure.
While we have many units within each of our production areas, every unit and every individual is a member of the team. Ultimately, it is the team that wins or loses in the marketplace. We value people who maintain and demonstrate that team perspective and attitude.
- Living Our Value: In our organization, part of being a team player means learning how to, and living all our values. It means putting aside personal agendas that are not aligned with team goals.
- In our world, workloads in each department are almost always unbalanced, with certain departments having more or less than others on any given day. Being a team player means unselfishly and willingly helping others when your personal work is completed. It means doing that with the same attention and dedication to quality and productivity with which you handle your primary jobs. By doing that, you become a valuable member of the team.
We value high quality relationships – in everything we do and with every person with whom we interact:
We place a high value on relationships that are healthy and productive. We place that value on employee-to-employee relationships (peer-to-peer, peer-to-subordinate), employee-to-client relationships, employee-to-outside partner relationships – every kind of human relationship that we have in our world. We value people who develop and bring strong relationship skills to their relationships that are based on a win-win philosophy, where all parties derive significant benefit from the relationship.
- Living Our Value: Examine some of our other values, which can be found in healthy, productive relationships. Such relationships always contain integrity and mutual respect. Look for the presence (or absence) of these qualities (values) in all your relationships. If your relationships lack integrity and/or mutual respect, look at what you can do at your end to bring those qualities to the relationship. In addition, always look for ways in which you can UNILATERALLY AND UNCONDITIONALLY add value to the relationship. If everyone did that, the quality of all our relationships would significantly improve. It is important to think only about what you can do to add value, and to not make your actions dependent on what someone else should also do. You can only control what you do. So focus only on that.
We value our commitment to our vision:
We place high value on actually doing the things necessary to achieve our vision. Our emphasis is on the doing. It is possible to value our vision and not do what is necessary to achieve it. So it is important for us to distinguish between the two, and focus our attention on the doing.
Our vision is very ambitious. There are many pieces needed to achieve it, some of which are not yet in place. And some of those pieces are not yet even identified. So it is important that we remain focused and aware. Things will cross our path, things we don’t know about today, which will be essential to help us achieve our vision. We must remain constantly aware or we may miss an important opportunity, an important step on our journey. We must remain focused. In the coming months and years, we will uncover many opportunities promising growth and profit. We must be alert and wise enough to select only those which take us on the path toward our vision – not the ones which, no matter how promising, divert our path and our purpose.
- Living Our Value: Learn our vision. Keep it present in your consciousness. Learn how the performance of your individual and your team’s job supports and contributes to the achievement of our vision. Learn why what you do is so important and necessary – how it and you truly make a difference. Because you do make a difference. Live all our values to the very best of your abilities. Stay alert. Stay focused. Be prepared to go the extra mile. We believe the rewards for all of us will justify your extraordinary commitment.
I believe that an accurate statement of core values is essential to achieving ultimate success. I know they have been essential to me – not only in achieving levels of business success, but also for insuring the quality of life that I choose to live.
Look honestly at your behavior, not your statements of good intentions. Identify your core values. That is your true brand.
(This post was originally published on 12/10/08 on ActiveRain.)