We’ve all heard the expression, “What have you done for me lately.” Time Warner Cable today released a list of things they were going to “do” that they felt would lead to them shedding the reputation of poor service and quality. The reality is that they cannot “do” themselves out of that deserved reputation. They have to “think” their way out.
When organizations have problems the first thing that they usually ask is, “What do we need to do differently?” The real questions they should be asking are, “What is it that we believe that is leading to these results? And, “How do we need to think differently in order to be getting a different result?”
It matters what you think! If you think that it is acceptable to just show up for an appointment to install cable service whenever you want, even if you are hours late, then that is what will happen. In other words, your actions will always tell others what you really believe. If you want to change what is happening, your actions, then you will have to change your beliefs. And in an organization, those beliefs show up as values.
What does your organization value? Is it stated? Is it constantly taught? Is it modeled? Are exceptions to the stated values allowed? Are all decisions made in accordance with the stated values?
It is important for everyone in the organization to know the values if you are going to get the desired results. Make the effort to go beyond a list of words. Create clarity around each value by defining exactly what you mean and believe.
Listing a word like integrity is nice but different people will have a different definition. Here is a definition that gives that clarity, “Integrity – We do what we say. We do what’s right, no matter the cost. If we mess up we admit it and fix it fast.” With this type of definition, everyone in the organization will know exactly what you value and what you expect.
The values need to be taught, talked about at all meetings and examples of decisions that were made based on those values shared throughout the company. If you make a conscious exception to a value then it really isn’t a value. Make your values Non-Negotiable.
Organizations who have clear values, based on valuing people and serving others will always outpace organizations where no one knows what the company stands for. If outstanding customer service isn’t a true, never compromised value, then customer service will vary from day to day. The same applies to integrity, honesty, the quality of business relationships and fiscal responsibility.
Take the time to think about what you believe and value as an organization and then make the investment to make sure that absolutely everyone in your organization knows and lives by those values. And, as always, this starts at the top!