Note: This is part 2 of a 2-part series. Read the first part: Write Remarkable Core Company Values (Part I)
How to Develop Your Company Values
“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.”
To accelerate your company growth and profitability, you need an engaged workforce.
Your employees have the potential to be your biggest advocates, positively reflecting your business in the myriad of ways they communicate every day. Your team is the un-tapped engine that can catapult your company upward. And your company values are the keystone that will give them their purpose.
In part 1 of this 2-part series on developing company values, I described the slew of problems that plague the core values of many companies.
At Kinesis, we’ve spent a lot of time studying core values and implementing them in both our own company, as well as helping our clients to do the same. Over the years, we’ve developed a system that we call Living, Breathing Values (LBVs).
Why You Should Care About LBVs
LBVs are more than just company values written on a wall or fading away in a binder on a shelf. LBVs are the drivers of your leaders’ and employees’ behaviors. They are principles and beliefs that form the core of your culture and brand.
Once LBVs are successfully integrated into company culture, the benefits are huge:
- Every single person clearly understands what is most important.
- Employees feel more engaged in your organization – they have more confidence in leadership, and they develop a sense of pride and ownership.
- Employees become ambassadors of your brand.
What makes employee engagement so important? Business guru Tom Peters explains:
“Employees’ behavior has direct impact on the bottom line, costs, revenue streams, level of productivity, customer satisfaction, even the brand—every aspect of the business is affected. If strategy and culture are not aligned, the culture may support behaviors that conflict with what has to get done—and actually block execution of the strategy.”
What are LBVs?
LBVs are decision-making tools, to be used by everyone in your company – from your CEO to your intern. In order to be effective, they must be understood and adopted by your staff. They must be continuously modeled, communicated, and reinforced by your leadership. In every moment, each person should be able to ask themselves “Am I in alignment with my values?” If the answer is “no,” then they should make a different choice.
At Kinesis, we live by the following LBVs:
- Think Big
- Build to Last
- Share the Good
- Do the Right Thing
Every single member of our team relies on these four tenets to guide their decisions and their actions. We weave these ideas into our meetings, employee recognition programs, evaluations, and hiring processes. The values are alive and active in our minds, and that is what makes them Living, Breathing Values.
We’ve developed three rules to help our clients create impactful LBVs.
- Start with a verb: LBVs are something you do. They are actionable, decision-making tools. As such, they must be a sentence that starts with a verb so that each person can ask themselves “Am I doing this?” and be able to easily answer yes or no.
- Keep ‘em short and sweet: Limit each LBV to a few words. Some of our clients have created powerful values with the shortest sentences possible. Short and memorable = powerful.
- No more than four. We recommend no more than 4 LBVs. Don’t be scared of the simple. Three is a great number and we even have a client who has two LBVs that work powerfully for their company.
LBVs in Action
In addition to serving as a decision-making gauge for your team members and leadership, your LBVs also function as an outward-facing tool that your company uses to attract your dream clients and A-player job candidates. When your marketing materials and your sales team incorporate your LBVs into the way you talk about your company, it attracts people and organizations that align with them.
Companies that implement LBVs can easily tell existing and prospective employees not only what is expected of them, but what they can expect from the company. This means that you can hire people who are harmonious with your LBVs and a good fit for your culture – your LBVs tell the story of what life is like within your company. They are the drivers of truly remarkable (and profitable) organizations.
We’ve seen amazing transformations as a direct result of the integration of LBVs in our client organizations.
For example, one of our clients implemented LBVs a little over a year ago. The CEO enthusiastically integrated Core Values into his company culture – from the highest management functions to incoming newbie tasks. Everything in the company is now shaped by LBVs – job descriptions, evaluations, new hire orientations, annual retreats, employee recognition, sales processes, and the way in which employees interact with their customers.
In the 14 months that our client implemented the values (with minimal focus on external marketing) –revenues have gone up, profit margins have grown, more A-players have joined the team, and our client’s company is booked out for months in advance – even during their slowest months. LBVs have been the cornerstone of our client’s accomplishments, and the CEO tells me that the change in his employees, the management team, and their clients has been nothing short of transformational.
Given the competitive nature of the marketplace, your company cannot afford to sacrifice any critical success factor. And study after study show that core values drive employee engagement and corporate culture; in turn, these drive performance. Your LBVs are the rocket fuel that will take you to the moon and beyond.
Want to learn more about our approach to core values, and how Kinesis can help bring bottom line results to your business? Visit our website or give us a call at 503-922-2289 to set up a consultation.
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