The most important step in establishing a high performing culture is to define it yourself. If you can’t write it down and understand it clearly, you’re not likely to be able to make it happen in your team.
Define Values vs. Behaviors
Are you weary of discussing “core values” and the under-appreciation for the importance of behaviors? The difference is critical.
Values are abstract terms.
They are concepts or notions, ideas we may believe in.
Behaviors are concrete.
They are actions we can literally see people doing.
• Practice blameless problem-solving
• Do it right the first time
• Be vigilant about safety
• Do what’s best for the client
• Take ownership
• Communicate to be understood
Why Do We Care?
The reason this difference is so important is CLARITY! Values often leave too much room for interpretation. They can mean many different things to many different people.
You may value respect, but what it means to act in a respectful way can be vastly different from one person to another depending on the family and the culture in which they grew up. We can all agree that service is a value we can get behind, but what constitutes great service? It varies with each person. Go beyond the vagueness of values and articulate specific behaviors.
Behaviors are clear – Because behaviors are actions, they are far easier to explain with more clarity. We can actually see someone doing a behavior and can more easily understand just what is expected. For the same reason, it is far easier to teach and coach behavior, and to give people appropriate feedback for improvement.
When we describe our culture in terms of the values we believe in, most people will respond emotionally, although it tends to do little to actually influence what they do on a daily basis. Vagueness makes it difficult to operationalize.
On the bright side, when we describe our culture in terms of the behaviors we want to see taking place each day, it resonate with your team in a way that influences their actions. As leaders, it gives us the tools and the opportunities to actually teach and reinforce what we are looking for. And at the end of the day, that is what creating and driving a culture is all about – getting our people to more consistently be the way we want them to be.
Leaders with the most impact are those who can build and successfully manage great teams. Every day, we help our clients and colleagues achieve their highest levels of professional presence and personal effectiveness. That includes everyone on the ladder, from company presidents to project managers, to staff members. Contact us at 800-282-3374 to find out how we can help you impact your own productivity and the productivity of your entire organization.
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