It’s ok to run your business based on what you believe. It’s even preferred. The problem is that many organizations do not know what they believe.
Seven months ago we started an organizational development project with a new client. They had no stated values. We find that many companies do not have stated values. We find that many more do have stated values but the values only show up on the company’s website, annual report and cafeteria wall. In other words they are in the promotional materials of the organization but not in the people.
We brought everyone into the room to discuss what they believed as an organization. The people were skeptical. They wondered, “Is this just another short-term project that will be long forgotten when the weather changes?” Everyone had the chance to speak, to share their thoughts and to play a part in shaping what they believed as an organization. They worked diligently. They had meaningful conversations and discussions. They challenged each other. And through the process, they came up with their core values, a statement of what they believed.
Over the next few months’ things begin to change. We heard stories of people taking these values home and their spouse adopting them in their business. Decisions started to be made based on the values. A key person was let go because he wouldn’t live the values like everyone else was doing. Recently when we interviewed a new hire she said, “I decided to come here because of the culture and what they believe.” As a matter of fact, they won’t even show you a job description during an interview until they have shown you their values and you connect to them.
Finally, just last week they had the conversation around changing the name from Core Values to our preferred reference, Non-Negotiable Core Values, as a statement that what they believe and their culture is absolute. They love the place they have created. And, they are willing to defend that culture.
The outflow from building an organization based on what they believed is that everyone is more relaxed. Relationships have deepened. Communication is better. There is more camaraderie and teamwork is showing up all over. Ultimately, accountability is flowing from this culture. It is evident and even people in the community they serve see this and react very positively to it.
It is only by defining what they believed as an organization that they changed what they did, improved their culture and achieved desired results.