Think Kit #8.2, The Core Values will be the next Super Group!

Think Kit #8.2, What did you make this year?
Think Kit number 8.2, which is a continuation of number 8.  The song remains the same on this post.  The question is... What did you make this year?  Answer number 2 is... drum roll... Core Values and a Mission Statement!  Actually, I did not "create" these values.  We, the members of a group at Iasta found them.  My role was facilitator.  The group identified, debated, and ultimately defined each and every value, along with the mission statement.

Core Values, The Creation Process

By running through a series of group activities, we identified over 25 potential values as candidates. The group was comprised of people from the following areas of the business:
  • Operations
  • Customer support
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • IT
  • Development, (Programmers)
It was quite a mixture.  Through lively debate and discussion, the final five were decided upon.  It was a remarkable process.  As an example, we probably spent 2-3 hours on one word.  That word was "flexibility," which did not make the final five.  But, it definitley showed up in the stories and history of our company.  The group debated about the word flexibility and what that meant to our collective future.  What would flexibility mean to the contract negotiation process? Development? Billing?  The group decided flexibility needed to be tamed.  We changed it and decided on the word "adaptability."

Then, massaged that word into "Be Adaptable."

Just recently, I walked into the office one morning and saw these new, large signs on the wall.  I thought to myself... "Holy cow, look at that!"

The images have been posted below.



Unexpected Outcomes

It is always surprising to see how the core values take on a life of their own.  People use them!  Here is a brief list of the places where the core values are playing a key role.
  • Positioning, how the company is different against much larger competitors.
  • Differentiation, speaks to the statement above, but worth a mention.  Common phrases heard around the office are... "Here is our core values, this is who we are..."
  • Confidence, Sales and Strategic Alliances are using them religously.  You may ask, Why?  The values are tied to the real stories of the company.  There is NO separation in who we are, what we have been through as a group, and what we can deliver in the future.  It can all be summed up in one word... Belief.
  • Alignment, as a team and in messaging.  True team alignment is an amazing thing.  It's hard to describe, but when it's experienced, it rocks!  As one of the team members told me... "When you ran us through those exercises... you had us, all of us, that was a defining moment."  Which I appreciated.  But, on further reflection, my reply should have been... "I never had you, you had each other."
  • Case Studies The core values are being used in the published case studies. I recently heard the operations team pulling out stories of client interaction and they were evaluationg which values were present and which ones were not... all on their own! It was a cool moment.

Closing

I could chit chat about core values all day, but the reality is... it's amazing to see what people DO with them.  They use them in very unexpected ways.  It's a really cool thing to see and experience.  By using the skills and techniques learned from Culture Sync, I can honestly say.... I have no idea what YOUR core values are, but when your company or team puts in the work to define them... EVERYONE will know them when they see them.

Also for good measure... here is to creating your own reality!



If there are any questions, please feel free to leave a comment.  Also, thanks to Smallbox for coordinating the Think Kit project! If you are interested in dusting off that old blog and adding some new super fresh content, jump in the conversation (#thinkkit) and signup for the daily prompts.. they rock!

Until next time...

Peace out doggies!
Jer

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