Giving Teeth to the Lion

Organizations without guiding values have lost control of their identity and future.

Values guide during good times, anchor during tough times, and create stability during change. One of my leadership blunders was focusing too much on change and not enough on values.

Values make us predictable where it counts.

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Values explain the way we behave while we do business.

Core values explain:

  1. What we care about.
  2. How we treat each other.
  3. How we treat customers.
  4. Organizational identity.

Values without behaviors are lions without teeth.

Values and behaviors:

  1. Honor: Everyone knows and celebrates the strengths of their teammates. “Bob is great at…” “Mary is our go-to person when it comes to …”
  2. Servant-leadership: We do what’s best for others, even if it’s more difficult for us. “How may I serve you?”
  3. Innovation: When someone fails we ask, “What did you learn?”
  4. Positive energy: All meetings begin with at least one success story.
  5. Initiative. Rather than ask permission, we say, “I intend to…,”
  6. Customer service: When we don’t have an advertised product, employees are authorized to substitute products or services to satisfy customers, within an established financial limit.
  7. Transparency: Most conversations are open to everyone. We believe secrets reflect inequities.
  8. Employee development: Experienced employees mentor new employees. Successful mentors advance.
  9. Respect: We know each other’s aspirations and expect each other to live up to them.
  10. Fun: Every week the noisiest office receives free movie passes.
  11. Curiosity: Managers ask two questions before making statements.
  12. Teamwork: Every team member spends at least one hour a week helping other teammates.
  13. Teamwork: After decisions are made we don’t complain, even if we disagreed.
  14. Progress: We say, “What’s next,” at the end of conversations.
  15. Gratitude: We say,  “Thank you,” when projects are completed.

Your values express your future.

How might leaders leverage the power of organizational values?

What concrete examples of values and behaviors can you offer?