While it’s fun to go on a retreat with your leadership team and nail down or re-up a vision for your organization, and it’s critical to determine what the organization or team’s core values are and must continue to be, it is more difficult to keep them in the forefront of the team’s mind for the long haul. Be intentional as a leader by trying these methods:
- Post them where everyone can see them. If your core philosophy exists only in a binder on a shelf, it’s outta sight, outta mind. Put ’em in vinyl on your office walls and/or get them framed for every office and meeting room. Add them to the signature line of your emails. Also, have them at the top of all meeting agendas.
- Speak of them regularly. And, by “regularly”, I mean “weekly.” Find creative ways to interject one of them into your one-to-one’s with direct reports, within the first 5 minutes of a staff meeting, and whenever you and the team are weighing a specific decision. Vision and values set the tone for how you will proceed.
- Hire/onboard new teammates according to them. In your cover letter to applicants, be crystal-clear with what cultural fit you are looking for. Ask targeted questions in interviews that put an applicant in a scenario where their values will be revealed. And once you decide to bring them on board, spend a chunk of day one fleshing out how the team arrived at the vision/values, their importance, and how all employees must live them out daily at work.
- Use them for giving feedback. Whether you do the standard annual performance review or the more-frequent, less-formal quarterly reviews, vision/values must be an essential plumbline for assuring a teammate’s performance/attitude are aligned. Have the person self-assess off how well they believe they are living the values, and get some 360-degree feedback from their circle of influence. This practice will show how seriously you link their success with the team’s/organization’s success. Also, when corrective feedback must be given for teammates out of alignment, vision/values should be the mutual standard for which they must strive to remediate against.
- Praise your people when they exhibit them. Find ways to tell stories of teammates that treat customers/colleagues in line with vision/values. Highlight these heroes with verbal kudos in meetings or via group emails or organization newsletters. And nothing else beats simple, on-the-spot affirmations at the time an employee exhibits exactly what everyone is shooting to incarnate.
Once you incorporate these strategies, you will see your culture continue to embed the vision/values. Not only will you, together, get to your targets, but you will enjoy the ride more often! Got other ways for keeping vision/values alive? I’d love to hear them! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org