In that meeting, the visionary (or integrator) delivers a Core Values Speech. The speech paints a picture with history, stories, examples, analogies, and perhaps even “anti” examples. The leaders share what acceptable behaviors look like in action. There is a hiring mantra: “hire for behavior, train for performance.” The Core Values Speech reinforces acceptable behavior and helps the core values permeate into the company and culture.
Walk the Walk
In EOS, core values are “discovered” internally, not written by a marketing company or consultant. As each value is discussed, leaders weigh in: “Can I live this value?”
If you are a leader, you can’t forget that YOU are the model for behavior. Everyone in the company takes their cue from you on how to behave. How to communicate. How to hold themselves accountable.
If a leader is serious and abrupt, meetings and the culture will most likely mirror that. If a leader is fun, appreciative, and hard-working, ditto.
I observed this phenomena of mirroring when I worked for the GAP® when Mickey Drexler was CEO. In one meeting, someone noted that all twelve men in the room were wearing a version of Mickey’s daily dress: flat front khakis, brown belt, denim shirt.
Why Core Values Can Fall Short:
- They are aspirational: not reflective of the company
- They are “permission to play”: so foundational to being a good human being that the bar is too low
- They are accidental: they exist, but they are not meaningful and may came from leaders who’ve moved on
- They are in a drawer, not on a wall: not actualized into everyday behavior
- They become internal marketing slogans: easy to ignore
How to Make them Stick
- DO support your visionary’s telling of a Core Value Speech
- Know your core values by heart
- Recognize core values in action with ‘core value shout-outs’ – in meetings, on paper, in contests
- Ask employees to get in on the fun, and do their own core value shout outs
Chunk them out. Rotate through each value by week, quarter, month. Over time, everyone in the entire organization will know them and more importantly, live them.
Previously published on the Velocity 6 blog
- Watch Mark O’Donnell describe the 8 Questions Your Leadership Team Should Answer to help you clarify your company vision
- Download a copy of the EOS V/TO™ to help you clarify, simplify, and achieve your vision
- Download a free chapter of Traction by Gino Wickman