How to Create a Culture Based on Shared Values
This blog is an excerpt from our E-Book – 5 Key Changes That Grew Our Business’ Value By 10x. Be sure to check out the full story here!
We had owned one of our companies for well over a decade and in the last few years, transformed it into a high-energy, high-performance culture. Through this process of transforming our business, we found the key to running a successful organization is to have a culture based on a shared set of clear values and beliefs.
Simply living the values we wanted others to live by was not enough to build common values into the organization; we had to codify our values. A company with a strong culture flourishes in many ways. Here’s what we did to create a culture based on shared values in our company:
We determined what our key values were
Not only did we determine what our key values were, we also defined each core value. We created visuals that communicated the values and placed them around the office where the entire team could be reminded of and encouraged to live by the company core values. These values weren’t simple platitudes; they were the standards by which everything would be measured.
We consciously discussed the company values with all employees
It’s critical to purposefully speak about the company core values. It’s just as important that the entire company lives by those core values, every single day – the owners, leadership team, and every team member of the organization. We encouraged everyone to use the company values in everyday conversation at all levels of the organization and communicated to our team how our values guide our business decisions.
In addition to large company meetings, the leadership team made a conscious effort to show how the values were being used in making everyday decisions about the business.
We reinforced and rewarded through our Values in Action program
Our Values in Action program encouraged employees to anonymously recognize their peers for living by the company core values. When an employee noticed a peer exhibiting the company core value, they would write a short note about the person’s actions on a card and put it into our Values in Action box. Looking for behaviors motivated each employee to demonstrate the same values and reading each recognition aloud and rewarding them was something that our people valued the most.
Through clearly defining the company’s key values, consistently reinforcing those values through group and individual interactions, and, creating an action program that rewarded behavior for both the observer and the observed, we created an organization that operated from a common foundation.
This created a culture unlike any we’d seen or experienced before. Decision making became more consistent, expectations were higher, and performance dramatically improved. A team of 30 was operating with a common vision, and there was nothing we could not accomplish.