How Are Your Company Values Working?
By Terri L. Norvell, Business Coach & Consultant

Successful companies have core principles and a management structure which provides a foundation for business and decision making. These defined Values, Vision and Goals will be the keys to your success. This article is part one of a three part series discussing how you can ensure maximum effectiveness within your organization by focusing on Values as a critical success factor.

Creating Company Values
Values are the qualities, the essential tenets, you want your organization to embrace. They are the cornerstones that determine HOW team members are to conduct themselves. These values will guide decisions and behavior from daily interactions through strategic planning and provide frontline employees a framework to make decisions. They comprise a code of consistency, commitments, that all behavior must support. Call them guiding principles.

Action Application
Involve your core team in this creation process and start with a blank piece of paper. Brainstorm the qualities and principles that are important to your organization. Think about your customer orientation, your client interaction focus, the expectations of your staff. Ask this question, "What do we want the public, our customers and our employees to say about their company?"

Communicating Your Values
Story-telling is an effective way to keep the values of a company alive as they can embody the essence of your company qualities. Think about the folklore of yesteryear, how traditions were passed along from generation to generation. Do the same within your organization. When presenting your guiding values, tell the stories you want remembered. Use a variety of examples to relate with your diverse staff.

Remember the Fed Ex blizzard condition, package delivery story? It was a powerful example of the commitment to on-time delivery played out by employees embracing a company’s guiding value.

Action Application
Find success stories within your company that demonstrate your values in action. These will be simple daily actions to grand accomplishments. Create your internal "heroes" at all levels. Talk about success stories in action and write about them in your weekly emails and monthly newsletters. Keep this focus alive through your emphasis.

Monitoring Your Values
Have you noticed how some companies have earned excellent reputations? Whatever store or property you visit, you experience a consistent type of service and quality from the staff. What you are experiencing are the company’s guiding values in action. When you visit a facility with outstanding service ask the person this question "What’s important to your company?" The response will be telling and perhaps along the lines of "they treat employees very well; customers are the reason for our business; we’re the best at what we do, etc." The values live in daily interactions.

Action Application
Play a game at your next company meeting. Hand out cards with values printed on them, and have each person prioritize the "value cards" as they believe exist within your company. Compare with your version and discuss the variations to reinforce your guiding values and unify your team.

For maximum company results, the actions of your entire team need to be rooted in core values people can trust…then, empower your people to take action!

Terri Norvell is a national business coach and consultant
for fast growing and entrepreneurial businesses.

More information about Terri Norvell - including an article list!

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