For years, I’ve
encouraged businesses to use values to guide their decisions and
entrepreneur asked me to provide some specific, practical examples of
how this can work on a day-to-day basis. Here they are, using the value
“Teamwork” for illustration purposes.
PEOPLE DECISIONS –
PROMOTING & REWARDING
Use a chart like the
one below for people decisions, where core job duties/performance are on
one axis, and values are on the other.
assign other duties
These are your
for your team
for your team
Talk about your
values in your recruiting ads, and make it clear that the company only
hires people who firmly believe in them. In the ad, tell the potential
candidate to apply only if he/she shares our values.
behavioral interview questions:
“It can sometimes be difficult to
fulfill individual responsibilities and be part of a team. Tell me
about a time when you had to face this conflict and reached a
“Describe how you helped build a
positive team spirit in your department.”
“Tell me about a time you had to set
your own priorities aside in the interest of the team.”
& has contagious excitement for department and company goals.
Intervenes when observing “us versus them” attitudes in others.
Regarded as highly dependable by all.
interested in achieving team goals. Encourages others. Reports “us
versus them” attitudes. Follows established procedures. Positive
attitude. Very dependable.
interest in team goals. Generally follows procedures. May tolerate
“us versus them” attitudes in others. Generally positive attitude.
interest in team goals. Engages in “us versus them” behavior. Does
not follow established procedures. Negative attitude. Undependable.
Company leaders must
constantly be on the lookout for opportunities to praise, recognize,
reinforce, teach and reward the right behaviors. Here are some ideas for
Implement one or more annual awards that
highlight team members who model your values. These can be
Tell stories to reinforce company
values. When a team member is observed living a core value, talk about
it publicly. Make the ones who live out the values heroes of the
Nobody likes to fire
people, but sometimes it is unavoidable. Here are some ideas for using
your company’s values when terminating an employee:
“I’m not firing you. You fired yourself
by choosing to not practice the company’s values, even though it was
made clear when you were hired that violating them is not tolerated.”
Well before firing, there should be
conversations, coaching and written warnings. The final termination is
just a formality and should not be a surprise.
Before getting to the termination stage,
identify specific behaviors that violate your values, and meet with
the person to discuss the situation. See if the employee can be
coached to success. If not, issue a written warning letter with a
timeframe – maybe 90 days. In the letter, tell the employee you’ll
meet monthly to discuss progress, and will meet informally as
appropriate. Make it clear that you’ll support them, but ultimately
success is up to the employee.
When you do have to fire someone based
on values, whose job performance, productivity is high – it’s a
gut-check for the company and a teachable moment for the entire team.
Dealing with customers &
Make customer and supplier decisions
using values as a filter. Never violate your values when dealing with
Just as you tell stories about employees
to reinforce company values, do the same with customers and suppliers.
Make them “values heroes” also.
Consider “firing” customers or suppliers
who are so clearly out of sync with your values that it makes it
difficult to do business with them.
What should employees do, EVEN
IF the owners areN’T here?
This is not an
exercise in touchy-feely. Values – guiding principles – are your
organization’s bedrock foundation for growth. They give your people
principles to apply, instead of policies to enforce. Identify yours, and
use them as “guardrails” on your road to success.
Bill Collier is
a St. Louis-based business coach, consultant and speaker. He is the
author of the book “How to
Succeed as a Small Business Owner … and Still Have a Life.” His
website is www.collierbiz.com,
and his email is firstname.lastname@example.org
You may reprint this article in its
entirety as long as you include the full by-line that appears at the
bottom of the article.