Leaders are communicators. If you don’t communicate well, chances are you won’t lead well. One of the most important messages I’ve ever communicated to my team is our core values. I knew that I had to get this right. After I determined my core values, I took four steps to prepare and position them for maximum, company-wide impact.
Once you discover “Who Are You?”, every leader can position their core values for maximum impact in four steps.
Inform your inner circle
At our usual weekly Leadership Team off-site lunch, I was so excited to share about my discovery. During lunch, I shared the following:
- My 16 year journey and specifically my 2 ½ years personal process
- What we had learned in book reviews about Core Values in Jim Collins’ books, Good to Great and Built to Last.
- My six values that described “Who I am”
- Where each value came from and why each was important to me
- Asked them to not reveal the six values to anyone so I could introduce them at Fall 2005 QIC-Day (pronounced “Quick”) meeting.
- Asked them to think over these six values for further discussion at our next week’s Leadership Team lunch.
I was even more excited leaving that lunch because our Leadership Team was also so excited.
Infuse action into your core values
In the following weeks a couple of interesting things began to unfold.
Members of the Leadership Team took the responsibility to put “action” words to Our Values and came up with:
- Pursue Personal Growth
- Live With Integrity
- Add Value to Others
- Strive for Excellence
- Enhance Relationships as We Drive for Results
- Achieve Significance
Initiate a logo design
I hired a graphics design firm to help me with a design logo so I could have it put on a T-Shirt when we had our QIC-Day. They asked me what the key words in the six values were. I shared they were Growth, Integrity, Value, Excellence, Relationships, and Significance.
Well, within a few weeks they came back with a design logo that spelled the word, G.I.V.E.R.S. It is interesting that I did not put Our Values into any particular order…I just wrote them down.
When I introduced these values as Our Values for the company, it was easy for our people to remember the word, G.I.V.E.R.S. And therefore it was easy for our people to remember the key words.
Here’s the GIVERS logo from 2005:
Here's the current GIVERS logo:
Define a Values Statement
Since all of Our Values had something to do with people, the thought just kept coming up over and over that Our Values Statement should be People, People, People.
In 1982, I was interviewed as a nominee for the Small Business Person of the Year. In the interview I was asked to mention three reasons for my success.
I had never been asked that before. And the only answer I could think of was People, People, People. This simple mantra became our Values Statement and the overarching statement of what we were about.
Communicating your core values is an important part of leading your organization. The four steps above will prepare you for a successful company-wide roll out of your values to your employees.
In my next blog post we’ll talk about how we did just that!