The ‘Core Values’ of a company are its culture, its heart and its DNA. Too often I have seen companies do that thing where they get their staff to sit around in a circle and brainstorm what they would like their Core Values to be from an aspirational point of view. Then they paste the long wish list on the wall as a motivational poster. This rarely reflects the true culture of the business and the chasm to leap from where they are to where they want to be is just too great, so it just doesn’t happen.
If you want to know what your core values are, take some time out of your business and when you come back, look at the decision making process your staff have taken to move forwards. That’ll tell you a lot. Culture is what happens when the Managing Director is not in the room. In 2015 I was ‘in the room’ at my IT business no more on average than 2-days a week. Plenty of time to learn what works and doesn’t and I have to say, the culture is one of the many bits we have right. It’s ingrained.
The point is, you don’t just set Core Values, you live them. Assuming your business is good you are already living them, you just need to identify them and then help the people you lead to develop actions that reinforce the great behaviours that will continue to deliver your Core Values. This is critical if you have any plans to scale your business, as I certainly do.
In staff interviews, ask scenario based questions that will give you a guide as to how a candidate will handle a dilemma related to your values. Assuming you provided adequate training, when a member of staff does something that breaches your core values it becomes easier to make the decision as to whether you need to start the disciplinary procedure.
Business Computer Solutions has just started a scheme to promote and reinforce its three Core Values using some very smart glass trophies and a lot of team engagement. Have a read of the blog article on the BCS site if you want to see who won in January.
- Integrity – The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.
- Dependability – Tell people what you plan to do and then do it. Every time.
- Education – Having a quest for knowledge and supporting colleagues with their continued development
Although presented at the end of January by the leadership team, in future the award recipient will be selected and award presented by the previous winner. This further reinforces the importance of the role, both in the giving and receiving.