QUOTES & WISDOM
TOP OF THE MIND
QUOTES & WISDOMfrom the Top of the Mind
QUOTES & WISDOM
Top of the Mind
The Problem with “Core Values”
As a speaker, trainer, and organizational consultant, I’m often asked to help organizations with their culture, and one of the first things that the leaders mention are their core values. Most of the time, the leadership team has gotten together and come up with what they believe are the values that will help make the organization successful, and then rolled them out to the employees. Unfortunately, they soon discover that this hasn’t had any real effect on people’s behavior, and they turn to me for help.
There are a couple of reasons for this. First, some people are suspicious of core values that are given to them by leadership because they see the exercise either as a sales technique to attract customers, or some sort of prod to make them more productive. Second, they may have seen other organizations trot out their core values but not live up to them. Enron, an organization that went bankrupt and whose leaders went to jail for fraud, had their core values proudly displayed in their lobby.
The main reason that most people are less than enthused when given core values by leadership is that they didn’t have any part in choosing them. That’s why I do things differently when asked to help an organization (or family) define their culture.
First, I get everyone to shift to the “Top of the Mind” by showing them how their stress, frustration, anger, and anxiety actually come from the lower 20% of the brain. People seem to really respond to this information because it helps them understand their emotions, and gives them specific tools for shifting to the clear, confident, creative part of who they are and being able to stay there.
I then ask them what qualities and characteristics they would like their culture to embrace? There is a quote from a great trainer by the name of Bob Pike that says, “People don’t argue with their own data.!” This means that when people choose who they want to be, they are more likely to adhere to their choices and have those choices inform their behavior.
However, I don’t stop there, because just choosing values such as integrity, accountability, and compassion doesn’t always mean that people will be more accountable and compassionate. That is, when the values are just words, even when they are chosen by the employees, they are likely to be forgotten the first time a problem arrises.
Therefore, I make the choosing of core values just the beginning. Once the employees have defined the qualities and characteristics they want their culture to embrace, I ask them to choose behaviors that bring these values to life. Next, I get them to define what they don’t want in their culture, and, finally, I ask them to commit to specific qualities that they want to get better at over the next few months.
It is these additional elements…translating values into behaviors, becoming clear about what we don’t want, and making a personal commitment to getting better that brings the concepts of core values to life, and makes them the core of your culture.
If this is something that you would like for your organization (or family), I suggest that you contact me. Until we know what these values are, what they aren’t, what they look like, and what we are committed to, they will remain just nice words on the wall.
~ All the best, Dr. Bill