Organizational Culture finds its foundation on Core – Values. These become the foundation through which a company guards against its internal and external behaviour which has the potential to build of destroy their culture. Irrefutable and empirical data from the Deal and Kennedy research proves that a Culturally robust organization is great for the bottom line.
The founder of Zappos Tony Hsaih in his quest of building the Zappos culture with his people was initially sceptical about Core- Values. I truly understand why he was, in many organizations globally Core – Values are only present on the year-end report , the stationery , and maybe on the walls of the reception to “ impress “ clients and visitors that they are a Core- Values driven organization. In practise it is another story, they are not committed at all to their Core-Values.
I have worked across industries and levels and the saddest thing is that not many people in these said organizations are eloquent as far as their Core-Values are concerned. I will ask the question in a full room, either with Executives or the rank and file and I always get a “cold stare “ from people , like saying “ Core-Values “ what Core – Values I am doing my job and getting paid for it don’t start with those.
Well unfortunately that’s the truth, not many organizations instil their culture by using Core-Values as their foundation.
Zappos is very clear about their Core-Values , they use them to hire and fire people . What this means is that their Core- Values are Committable, they are just not fancy words or statements created by an Exco with some consultant on some retreat at a very expensive and exclusive resort. Tony even dares people to google their Core-Values and see what happens, Zappos will always be on top when you use their Core-Values as a search keywords.
So I truly get him and understand that Core-Values are the heartbeat of an aligned Organizational Culture. Unless and until there is a proper way to engage your people in creating these Core-Values they will mean absolutely nothing to people. In instances where the organization is growing and had crafted their Core-Values it then becomes encumbent upon the Leadership to re-position them and sell them to new recruits.
I am working with a diverse number of organizations and holding Leadership accountable for being the champions of their culture not through coercion but through engagement. Leaders must engage their people on issues around organizational culture and ensure that people “get it “ not through words but by demonstrable behaviours of the Leaders in living the Core-Values in everything they do , within the walls of their organizations and out in the world.
Until people know that your Core-Values are Committable until such time that they are part of your recruitment and retention strategy they will mean nothing at all to people.
I guess what I mean is that until such time that experience ,expertise and qualifications are secondary to Cultural fit , your Core-Values are just words and they will remain that way until a proper transformational process happens.
Great organizational Cultures are Inspired from the top but build from the bottom . In the building or re-aligning process , people must be engaged in all the steps so that when you get to that place when they become your dismissal and or retention mechanism they were part of the process and not only understand but own the process.
I am urging Leaders to really look at how their Core-Values are crafted and or re-aligned within their organizations. The power of the 3rd party is paramount however should be used accordingly, consultants should be the conduit in assisting organizations to craft their journey and should ensure that the process is as inclusive as possible.
The true test of a great organizational culture is visible and lived in how Committable their Core-Values are, and in how everyone in the organization from top to bottom is not only eloquent about the Core-Values but that they are part of their lives. When Core-Values are Committable they become the barometer of every process within the organizations both internally and externally.
So there, how Committable are you your Core-Values or are they just words on our stationery , reception and website ?