I was talking to a CEO recently and he shared with me his decision to make articulating and communicating his values a key strategic initiative for his company for 2015. But when I asked him what he thought this would accomplish, he became silent.
It certainly sounded like an admirable thing to do and many companies go down this path, making a big production of their values statements, putting them on their website, holding company-wide meetings, and maybe even featuring them in the company newsletter. And yet, at the end of the day, does communicating your values really impact your culture and change employee behavior in any meaningful way? I honestly don’t think so.
Culture is behavior
As I’ve written and spoken about countless times, culture is really about behavior. More specifically, your organization’s culture is best defined in terms of the day-to-day behaviors that predominantly describe how things get done there. So if we want to impact our culture, we have to focus on the behaviors. And if we want to change behaviors, we have to teach and coach in a structured and systematic way that generates enough repetition to create meaningful and lasting change.
Simply articulating and communicating your values isn’t a bad starting point, but it’s largely ineffective in creating change. It’s odd that we realize that a structured, systematic approach is essential for how we manage our finances, our sales plan, our process improvement efforts, and even our strategic planning. But when it comes to our culture, we’re typically far less rigorous in our approach. Given how important most of us recognize our culture is to success, this is a costly oversight.
Using a structured approach
In contrast, companies that use the Fundamentals System, as created by High Performing Culture, have the language and the tools to systematically teach and coach the behaviors they want to see in a way that’s practical and sustainable. By focusing on a Fundamental of the week through standardized rituals, these companies are employing a structured method to get the desired behaviors deeply ingrained into the very DNA of their organizations.
From the clarity of the behavioral descriptions to the rituals to the use of eMinder software to coaching guides and more, these companies are applying a level of intentionality and rigor that goes far beyond simply communicating their values. And if we’re serious about driving a truly high performing culture, that’s what it takes.