Values Based Companies Always Win!
By Cindy Barber
Catherine and I spend a lot of time working with executives on defining their organization's values and integrating those values throughout all layers of their company. Too many times we see company values displayed as artwork on the walls of reception areas or offices but the people who pass them day in and day out can not tell you what they are, from memory, or even what they mean. More often than not, we get blank stares when we ask questions like "how would your vendors or customers experience your company's values?". To some leaders, values may seem unimportant or they may have been important back in the early days when mission and vision were being defined, but have lost their meaning somewhere along the way.
Values are an important part of an organization's culture because it guides the behavior of everyone based on what the organization holds as being most important. It becomes part of their identity and brand. Most people know "what" their company does and, from an operational standpoint, they have a general idea of "how" things happen at least from a high level. Where things seem to fall apart is in the behavioral part of doing business, especially when things get stressful. Organizations that have values as the foundation of their company culture and hold their leaders and employees accountable for behavior that aligns with those values always win. Let me explain.
I will use an example that The Dash Group has faced. We have a two part process. After we assess a company and give developmental recommendations, our job is finished unless that client wants to retain us to do their developmental work. We don't always agree to do the developmental side with everyone who wants to bring us in because of our own company values. Yes, we turn down business. We have no real choice because two of our values are integrity and courage. If we know a client isn't teachable or ready to tackle organizational health, we would not be in our integrity to engage with them. We may walk away and loose in one respect but we know it is brave, it is the right thing to do, and we walk with our integrity in tact so it is never a total loss. When we are awarded contracts with companies who really want to be their best and are ready to roll up their sleeves and do the work, we can jump in the boat with them and win by gaining a client and win knowing we did it sticking to what we believe in. It is a win win.
Companies that make hard decisions based on their values gain the respect of their vendors and customers and build an enormous amount of trust among their employees and those they work with externally. When those companies suffer a loss, they are able to rebound much faster because their integrity has not been compromised and the internal health of the organization has remained in tact.