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Impact Elements Discussion 47

July 13, 2013 Headline News, Leadership No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Aloha, good day and welcome back to Impact: Elements. This week in our discussion we will be reminding you of some of the things that we asked you to do over the past months.

We are moving now into what we call the “Application and Action” phase of our work. This is the time where we help you take the thoughts and ideas that you have generated as you participated in our discussions and translate those thoughts and ideas into specific and implementable actions that will make a difference.

To prepare for this most important step let’s look back at the work that you have done. (That we hope you have done!) During this weeks discussion we suggest that you assemble this work and have it available for future weeks. And if you have not yet completed these efforts, it’s not too late to do so.

Let’s start with Core Values. Let’s revisit some thoughts on Core Values.

The authors  (of Built to Last) define ‘core values’ as the essential and enduring tenets of an organization – the very small set of guiding principles that have a profound impact on how everyone in the organization thinks and acts. Core values require no external justification. They have intrinsic value and are of significant importance to those inside the organization. They are the few extremely powerful guiding principles; the soul of the organization – the values that guide all actions.

The core values or ideology define the enduring character of an organization – a consistent “identity” that transcends product and market life cycles, management fads, technological change, and individual leaders. The organization may develop new purposes, employ new strategies, re-engineer processes and significantly restructure; however, the identity and ideology remains intact. In the authors’ words, “… core ideology provides the glue that holds an organization together through time.”

The Core Values would normally be derived from the Ethical Values and the Interpersonal Values.

The thoughts that we offer within Ethical Values are: Truth, Honesty, Integrity, Respect, Trust, Cultural Sensitivity and Fairness.

The thoughts that we offered on Interpersonal Values are: Listening, Follow-through, Compassion, Accountability, Passion, Excellence, Pride, Growth and Openness.

We asked that you by yourself and additionally with your colleagues take some time and determine the ethical values, the interpersonal values, the core values that you want to serve as your foundation. And we asked you to define what they meant to you.

Philosophical Values. They are the values that establish the broad parameters for the product or service.

Philosophical values define the organization for the customer and potential customers as they define the organization for employees or potential employees.

We asked you to consider your Philosophical Values and determine what you stand for. Determine what benefit you provide that appeals to the customer and to employees and potential employees?

After you did that we asked you to go one step further and define in ten words or less what you want to be, what you want to stand for in the eyes of the customer and in the eyes of your associates. Write a “Motto”, so to speak. Write a motto that clearly and succinctly defined what you do and what you wish to be known for.

Then in a later discussion we asked you to revisit your Motto. After discussing the Human Element and its importance in the customer experience we suggested that maybe you revisit your Motto and adjust accordingly to reflect the importance of people.

We wrote of values, behaviors and culture. Values plus behaviors equal culture. Cultures exist in every organization. Often times the cultures are just allowed to develop and given little direction. We suggested that cultures can be influenced, their development can be given direction. And that in the most effective organizations this is done by clearly defining the desired behaviors and then through the efforts of leaders those behaviors are made commonplace. Behaviors such as:

Innovation: Improvement, Advancement, Originality

Mission: Goal, Aim, Objective, Purpose

Precision: Exactness, Accuracy, Meticulous and Scrupulous Care, Attention

Anticipation: Expect, Foresee, Predict

Commitment: An agreement or pledge to do something in the future

Teamwork: the ability to work together toward a common vision.  It is the ability to direct   individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives.

 

And we suggested that you and your colleagues define the associate behaviors that you felt would best represent your values and best enable your culture to evolve to one where no one hesitated to climb the ladder.

We suggested that achieving consistency in behaviors had to start with leadership. And we asked that you as leaders define the leadership behaviors that will best represent you and best display the core values that you have identified and committed to.

We wrote of development and we shared that;

Effective development programs require:

Attracting, recruiting and selecting the right individuals to join the organization at all levels.

Providing them with constant challenges.  Enabling and encouraging them to grow personally and professionally.

And understanding the required skill sets if individuals are to succeed in positions of progressively increasing responsibility.

James Bracher tells us that “We can be taught from a textbook about science, engineering, transportation and a host of other enterprises and activities. However, leadership, values, integrity-centered behavior and relationships these are communicated and taught by those who exhibit them-person to person.”

We suggested in addition that you;

Focus on learning, not training.

Focus also on emotional maturity, integrity, compassion – these are the characteristics which really count.

Develop the person, not just the skills and knowledge.

Give people choices in what, and how and when to learn and develop – there is a world of choices out there, and so many ways to access it all.

Talk about learning, not training, and offer relevant learning in as many ways as you can.

And we asked you to take a little time and meet with your colleagues and discuss Development and Promotion from Within. We asked for you to consider the thoughts that we had shared with you and relate those thoughts to your organization. We suggested that you ask yourselves; Do you have programs in place that meet the intellectual needs of the people that you lead? Do you understand and have you identified the skill sets required for success at different levels of responsibility? Do you have in place that thoughtfully conceived, well entrenched program of filling leadership roles, at all levels, by first looking within the organization? Ask yourselves these questions and if the answers are not what you liked then continue working together with your colleagues to identify the steps that you could put in place that would make a difference.

We wrote of Tapping the Intellect, drawing on the intellectual resources of the organization, all of the resources.

We asked if your culture allowed the people of the organization to participate to their maximum ability.  Did your culture value thoughts and input from people at all levels of the organization? Did it value that input and encourage it?

We asked you to define the things that you could do to be sure that you were tapping the collective intellect of all members of the organization.

We wrote of BAGs and suggested that in excellent companies you will find cultures that encourage the creation of BAGs and cultures that direct the efforts of all towards their achievement. BAGs might to others outside the organization appear unreachable and risky or at the very least very difficult to achieve.

And we suggested that if the imagination of employees could be captured by the vision, mission and values of an organization, these stakeholders are likely to be more engaged in a partnership that achieves its goals. There is an energy potential in each of us that is brought into play when we are excited about, and believe in what we are doing.

We said that a BAG could help capture the imagination and we further suggested that you and your colleagues develop some BAGs of your own.

We wrote of Innovation and said that “A mind is like a parachute, it only works when it is open.” A leadership responsibility is to insure that all of the parachutes which surround you are open.

We suggested that innovating better at the corporate level is about more than implementing idea management software or reading a few books on innovation. It is about creating a culture of innovation. It is creating an environment that encourages idea sharing. It is managing ideas effectively and managing creative thinkers effectively. It is providing your people with the tools they need to improve their creative thinking skills. It is developing communication approaches that facilitate knowledge and idea sharing, cross enterprise collaboration and developing internal creative networks.

And we said that in the most successful organizations the culture encourages innovation, encourages risk taking. A primary responsibility of leadership in these organizations is to encourage people to think out of the box, to encourage them to think beyond their existing paradigms.

We asked you to assemble your colleagues and think about and talk about innovation.  Review some of the things that have worked at 3M. Look at some of the thoughts from the Innovation Network that we shared with you. And we suggested to do more than talk and think but also to formalize some thoughts, develop some programs and then implement them. These are programs that would open the minds of the people that you lead. These are programs that would enable you to compete effectively in the ever-changing Twenty First Century.

We addressed customer expectations.

Drive everything in your business with a customer focus. If we were to operate with only one best practice, this would be it. If all decisions, all services and all products were based upon a customer focus, customer service would be excellent. In a customer-driven business, management and employees remain committed to satisfying the needs and expectations of the customer. In these companies, rewards, recognition and training are all strategies for ensuring excellent customer service. In these companies, the customer is the job or business and whatever the customer wants, needs or does provides the energy for everything else.”

“Exceed customer needs and expectations. In a highly competitive service environment, meeting customer expectations may not be enough. Successful companies strive to not just meet, but to exceed, customer needs and expectations.”

And we concluded our discussion of customer expectations by asking you to again assemble your colleagues with a focus on customer expectations. Take time and together define what is it that you thought the customer expected of you.

These were some of the things that we have suggested you spend time on over our weeks together. Please use some time this week to assemble the results of these efforts.  Soon we will again revisit these areas and offer further suggestions on how you might be proceeding to insure that they are providing the maximum benefit to you and your organization.

As always, thank you for your time and for your interest. Until next week, aloha.

Written by : Bill Hurley

 

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