Last week we talked about how to develop values you can use in your company. Oh, by the way, you should also be using those values in your life as well.
This week we’re going to talk about how you implement and use the values you developed. After all, without an implementation strategy you’ve just wasted a bunch of time.
There are some of the ways I think you can use values in your company to not only make your company better, but to make it more profitable.
Last week we talked about how to develop values you can use in your company. And oh, by the way, those values that you develop for your company? Those should be the same values that you find important in your life as well because the truth is, your business and your personal life really aren’t two separate things. They need to be integrated, and understanding what your values are is a really good way to do that.
Now, this week we’re gonna talk about how you can implement and use the values you developed. After all, without an implementation strategy, you’ve just wasted a bunch of time developing strategies and values and identifying, which is nice to do, but the truth is, if we can’t use them, what’s the use of doing all this work?
So let’s jump right in and get started.
- Now, for the first thing you need to do is understand that not only are the values the things that guide you in your life, but they’re also a tool to use to help you and help others understand what’s important in your life, and if you wanna work in the company that you own, why those values need to be important for them also. Now, your people in your company don’t have to adopt your values and make it their values. They need to respect them and they need to work within them. And that’s where these clarifying statements become really important.
- You wanna use your values as keystones that you have for hiring. And this is incredibly important. I talk about this a lot. Jim Collins has used the term right person, right seat. Well, values is all about right seat. Is is the right person for your company, and is this person going to be upholding the values your company has which makes it easy for you to work for them or are they gonna be fighting against your values, which is gonna make it impossible for you to work with them, and that’s where a billion jerks often come from. Using values in the hiring process is incredibly important. Now, in our can do, will do fit factor method of hiring, these are fit factors. These are the things that are the same, the same five things, three to five things that are true for every single person you hire in your company. Now, when you’re hiring for different jobs, the technical skills you need are gonna be different and what they’re gonna have to do for success in the job will be different, so you need to do that for each job, but the values which are the fit factors are going to be the same for everybody. Now, when you’re probing for values, you’re looking for people that tell you stories. You don’t wanna say, gee, how do you feel about a personal responsibility? They’re gonna come back to you and tell you, oh, I think personal responsibility is wonderful. Without it you can’t go, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. They’re gonna feed you what you wanna know. You want them to tell you a story about if personal responsibility is a core value for your company, and I hope it is, but if you have personal responsibility as a core value and they tell you about it was somebody else’s in their story or they justify how they did stuff, that’s not someone who is likely going to exhibit personal responsibility in your company. If in fact, they said, gee, if I had done this differently, we might have had a different result. That’s the type of person you want if one of your core values is personal responsibility. If you don’t really pay a lot of attention to this, and I’ve talked about this lots and lots, you might have yourself a brilliant jerk on your hands. That’s somebody who is technically incredibly competent, does a great job, but drives everybody in the company absolutely out of their minds and exhibits little to few of your core values in the way they interact with others and even themselves. So you don’t want that type of person in your company, and that’s why having really specific values is unbelievably important.
- You wanna use your values to evaluate actions your company takes. If you say simplification is a core value of our company, which it is for us, we take the complicated and make it simple, and if I start taking simple things and making them complicated by over complicating, no one’s gonna believe that’s a core value for you. So walking your talk is really important. When you talk about values, your stakeholders are going to hold your feet to the fire. If you say, for example, we’re a learning organization, and that’s a core value from you, and you say, oh, we’re a learning organization, but the truth is, you’re not a learning organization, when someone makes a mistake, you assassinate them, you’re not a learning organization. You’re a killing organization, and you need to be honest. Say, look, if you wanna have learning organization be a core value, then what you need to do is you need to say, it’s an aspirational value, here are the steps that we’re going to be taking to make it into a core value.
- It’s really fun to use values to improve the performance of your people because what this allows you to do, it allows you to focus on the positive and keep moving that forward. I’m a huge fan of what we call appreciative inquiry, and using your values along with appreciative inquiry where we focus on what’s working really will help you get to were we wanna go faster, quicker, with better results. Now, the truth is, and you have to understand this, the way we make progress in the world is usually three steps forward, one step backwards, two steps forward, one step backwards, three steps forwards, two steps backwards. But the general target that we’re going is on an upward curve and that’s what happens when you’re using values to improve ’cause people will fall back, and it gives you a chance to have the conversation, have a correction, learn from mistakes and move on. If it’s a wrong seat type of issue, in other words, the person that you’re working with, their values are great, they’re a good fit for your company, but they’re just not doing the job especially well, don’t talk about values, talk about the job itself and say, gee, is this the type of job that you’re excited about doing, and does it fit in with where you are? Now, if your company’s big enough, you can move them to a place where they’re gonna be in the right seat. But unfortunately, most of the companies in this country have less than five employees. The vast majority of the companies have less than five employees. If you have somebody who’s a wrong seat issue, likely, even though they’re a perfect fit, they’re not gonna be able to stay with your company. If it’s a wrong person issue, meeting an action is not gonna assist with your values. You can talk about it. So when you get a person who is in the right seat, but they’re just not exhibiting the values that you have which are core and important, you talk about what the values are specifically where the change is, and what you need to do about this. Now, I’ve told this story a lot of times. I had a commissary manager. When she was working on her commissary, we were showing absolutely no personal responsibility. Through a long conversation that we had, and it went for about 15 minutes, she got it that what she was doing was blaming and justifying everybody around her for a mistake she had made, but once she realized that making this mistake was okay as long as she was willing to take responsibility for fix it, her physiology changed, the way she looked at me changed and her performance changed within the company. In fact, it changed so much, she eventually ended up becoming our commissary manager.
- This is something I want you to do. I did it as an experiment, and I was really excited about the way it turned out, is you want to use your values when putting an ad in for a new employee. Too often when I look at job ads, I have this laundry list of things that the job person, the person looking for a new employee, is looking for. Nothing about the values, nothing about what makes a company unique, nothing about why you might wanna work for this company. What we found is, and this is in Burlington, Vermont, where unemployment rate was 3%, we were hiring for a part time office person for $17 an hour, and I focused the job ad completely on our values and almost nothing on the job, we ended up having 131 applications for a part time job in Burlington, Vermont with almost nobody available to work. So when you focus on your values, not only do you get the right person for the job, but you get more people who are excited about what your company’s about wanting to come to work with you.
- Another thing you can do is you can use your values for marketing. You wanna let the world meaning customers, potential customers, know what you stand for. It’s okay if somebody says, you know, that’s not for me. I don’t wanna do business with that company because they’re not gonna be a good fit. And when you have customers that aren’t a good fit, they become a real challenge to work with because you spend way more time and way more effort trying to get them to like you than the customers who naturally like you and go into your world. You’re going to make your life a lot easier when you sit there and you articulate your values for the world to know and if it’s right for somebody, they’re gonna raise their hand and say, you’re exactly what I’ve been looking for, and if you’re wrong for somebody, it’s best to know that early on in the relationship.
So there are some of the ways I think you can use values in your company, not only to make your company better, but also to make it more profitable. So what are some ways you can use values in your company?
Why don’t you let me know what they are in the comments below, and while you’re at it, DOWNLOAD our Free eBook on Hiring For Unique Abilities. What you’re gonna learn is how we use values in the hiring process to get the best people and have the right person in the right seat.
So this is Josh Patrick. You’re at The Sustainable Business. Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope to see you back here really soon. And next week we have part three where I’m gonna talk about the one value I think everybody needs to have in their company all the time no matter what.