Leadership Team Development #5 – Your Core Values

If you have been an organization for a while, it’s very possible that the vision that existed at the beginning isn’t clear anymore, or perhaps it just doesn’t fit the organization today. Perhaps you’ve merged with or acquired another organization. Maybe you have a new partner. Whatever your history, when you look out across your entire organization now, can you say everyone is on the same page, heading in the same meaningful direction? If not, how do you get that single vision back with everyone engaged and rowing together?

Start by clarifying the core ideology of your company, the who you are and the why you exist. You have to get that back and build your entire organization around that core, beginning with your core values. Discover and clarify those two things and it will feel like a night to day experience for your company. (NOTE: You are likely to lose some people over this because once you have clarified who you are, some of your people may not fit. Stay the course. The short-term unpleasantness is well worth the long-term gain.)

Why core values first? It’s simple. If someone doesn’t care about or value what you value, they can’t be in your boat. They will ruin the trip for everyone else. When you are rowing to the right, they are rowing to the left or not rowing at all. If you make progress, it’s only because you’re rowing a lot harder, and that’s not fun short-term or long-term. Get them out of your boat and replace them with people who will happily row with you. Teams that passionately share a common set of values do amazing things together, so I am pleading with you, as a leader, don’t settle for less. Building your culture is the most important thing you can do for your organization.

Here are your takeaway points for this week:

  • Buy or borrow a copy of Gino’s book TRACTION and complete the core values exercise on pages 34 – 45 with your leadership team. The exercise usually takes approximately 2 hours. I’m here to help. Add any questions or comments below or contact me through this website. When you are done, you will have a set of values to build your culture around. Go for it! (Tip: you know it’s a core value if you would fire your uncle for violating it. See Ed Callahan’s Monday post)
  • If you haven’t already done so, download the Vision/Traction Organizer TM, V/TO TM tool to help you crystallize and capture your vision.

Encouragement: Many of us have walked this same path as leaders of our organizations and have lived to tell about it. You can do this.

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