Tip # 3 - Articulate and Clarify Your Company Values


All great companies operate by a core set of values that govern the organization. These values direct the decision-making of every employee. These values, when clearly articulated, explained, and clarified, free the owner or management from constant questions by subordinates. These values are why a maid at a Ritz-Carlton Hotel can spend $2,000 to please a customer without even consulting a supervisor. Core values allow decision-making to be passed down to the lowest levels of the organization where the tactical work is being done. Core values help employees know what the owner would do if he were there. It gives all employees confidence and empowers them to take action and make better decisions.

Disney World operates by four core values. In order of priority they are: safety, courtesy, show (Fun-entertainment of guests) and efficiency (profitability). In everything that is done within the Disney organization, the safety of the guests, and cast members (employees) comes first. All decisions made at Disney must pass the values test: If we decide to do this, will it be consistent with our values or what is important to the company? If the answer is no, the action or decision to go forward is not made.

When your values are clear, it will be easier for you to find and hire people with those same values to work within your organization. Southwest Airlines has a clear systematic hiring process that helps them find people that fit in their culture. Its called affirming shared values.

If your employees were asked what is important to your organization? How would they answer? How would you like them to answer? Sit down with your people and discover your core operating principles or values. What is non-negotiable in your company? Integrity, honesty, courtesy, respect, teamwork? Write a clarifying statement about each value. Prioritize them in order of importance. Print and laminate them on a card and distribute them to all the members in your organization. Let them be the focus of your meetings, employee newsletters and performance interviews. Hold everyone accountable to those values, including you. You will find that having core values established in your company can be liberating!

Do you have your company values established and articulated to everyone in your organization? - It is a best practice.

Thanks for reading.

Sam Allman
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