As you plan your agenda for your next business planning session, I hope you have carved out some time to discuss core values. If you study any great company, one that produces exceptional performance, you will find culture is a key component to their success. Great culture does not happen by accident, and thus it is imperative that part of your business-planning process addresses how you will build and nourish your firm’s culture.
Core values are the rules that when practiced daily by your employees shape and define your culture. Core values help top companies become more successful than their competition. While planning for our next quarterly meeting today, a CEO shared with me that out of all of the things he’d learned from me over the years, the most important lesson was “discovering, reinforcing, and building his team around core values.” It has helped significantly reduce a lot of the leadership team problems he used to have, reduced the amount of time he needs to manage the business, and he directly attributes increased business performance to rejecting people that did not fit his core values.
Depending on your current business issues, you will need to tackle core values at your next quarterly or annual business planning meeting differently. Here are a few suggestions:
You must instill your core values in everything you do, every day, and in every way. The number one reason core values do not get ingrained in many businesses is that most senior executives do not live them. If the top three executives (e.g. CEO, COO, and CFO) are not role models, you may expect that the rest of their employees will not consistently exhibit the company’s stated core values.
Once you have developed your values, execution through spaced repetition and consistency is imperative. This is the most difficult and important part of forming your culture. Everything we have learned in life we have learned through spaced repetition. Using your business planning meetings as a platform for ideas, an organization must develop a system for all employees to regularly hear, see, and act the core values.
The One Page Strategic Plan created by Verne Harnish includes a section for core values and how to live them each quarter. We can help you design your business-planning processes, and the Four Decisions Process can help.
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