(Part 3 of 3)
Reaping the benefits described in last month’s newsletter depends on your business’ values being respected, embraced, followed, and modeled by leadership and staff. Before values can impact culture, they must first be used consciously, consistently, and proactively. Your value statements must be imbedded in everyone’s mind.
Begin by assigning a sponsor from senior leadership to each value. The sponsor’s responsibility is to demonstrate visible, tangible support and recruit champions. Champions mentor and support managers, supervisors, and staff with the application of their assigned value to daily activities. Together, the sponsors and their champions become the vehicles for imbuing subconscious application of values throughout your organization.
Create opportunities that encourage staff to share stories in group settings about how they applied one of your business’ values. Individual stories become a virtual bookmark that brings staff back to each value when decisions need to be made and actions need to be taken.
As business success brings growth, the culture you’ve worked so hard to create can slowly be diluted. Sharing stories for others to see, hear, and emulate keeps your culture strong. Stories become the instruction manual for the uninitiated and create virtual shared experiences.
It’s not enough to have defined values that people know and intellectually embrace. They must inform and guide planning and strategic efforts that lead to the future health of your organization. If the values and consistent examples of how they are applied are kept top of mind, decisions and behavior will be properly influenced. It’s an educational, entertaining, benign, and penalty-free form of cultural engineering.
As stated last month, the simple, mundane, even complex repetitive tasks we do routinely started out as conscious acts before they became routine. Talking to a prospect, dealing with an unhappy customer, negotiating with a supplier, conducting a meeting, simply knowing which option is best and making difficult decisions all become second nature as experience develops automatic response. Leaders must provide the tactical impetus behind adopting your company’s values and acting as role models for everyone in your organization using traditional change management and project management techniques.