Business Management Tip – Aligning Behaviors With Core Values

Once you’ve defined your organization’s core values, you can strengthen them by fusing them into your performance appraisals and organizational assessments. In order to do that, you have to identify the specific behaviors associated with each core value. For instance, “being flexible and adapting to changes in customers’ needs” might be a core behavior associated with customer service.

This article shows how to express a set of behaviors that reinforce the core values. Begin by listing your core values and the related performance measures. Next brainstorm the associated behaviors. Discuss which behaviors are most in supporting the core values. Each core value should have 10-15 related behaviors (see example below).

Once you have a list, share it with other people in the organization and request for their feedback. After a few cycles, you ought to have a strong list. Ensure senior management has had an opportunity to audit and refine the list before moving further.

Armed with your list of core behaviors, you can include them into your performance appraisals and organizational assessments. A case of such assessment is included below. Every six months this architectural firm surveys all its employees. After the results are compiled, they request that employees work in groups and brainstorm ways to progress. The result is an organization whose behaviors are well aligned around its core values.

Core Value: Design and Execution (Score: Disagree or Agree)

1. We communicate our client’s expectations for every project.

2. We adhere to our project management process.

3. Every project is reviewed by a senior manager for “executability” and “creative response.”

4. We communicate what meets standards of “creative quality” and what does not for all projects.

5. We measure client satisfaction for all projects.

6. We discuss outside projects that meet the firm’s design standards.

7. We identify what people need to learn to meet our standards – and provide resources to mentor them.

8. We challenge each other’s ideas and encourage creative dissent.

9. We provide people time to explore, research, reflect, and talk about creative options.

10. We take time to go outside and explore examples of other designs and executions.

Core Value: Design and Execution (Score: Disagree or Agree)

11. We communicate with our customers regularly.

12. We ensure our customers get no surprises.

13. We achieve projects on deadline.

14. We accomplish projects within budget.

15. We are adaptable and adjust to changes in our customers’ needs and wants.

16. We communicate internally when a customer’s needs are not being met (e.g. deadlines, project completion, and budget).

17. We give sufficient time to complete projects .

18. We react to all customer calls and messages within 24 hours.

19. We frequently brainstorm innovative ways to serve our customers.

20. We keep each other informed about our customers’ activities.

21. We keep each other informed about new customers.

Core Value: Quality Work Environment (Score: Disagree or Agree)

22. We provide standards for each individual’s job performance.

23. We give regular performance audits once every year (twice if requested).

24. We ensure that everyone has individual development plans.

25. We give alluring pay rates, benefits and incentives.

26. We publicly acknowledge exceptional team and individual performance.

27. We urge individuals to recommend approaches to enhance how the firm gets things done.

28. We teach people how to clarify decision-making roles and responsibilities.

29. We are data-driven in our decision making.

30. We listen carefully to different perspectives – and assert their significance.

31. We take the time to detail our concerns – and our thinking.

32. We teach people how to manage projects effectively.

33. We address our contentions with each other directly.

34. We quickly communicate information related to the firm’s performance.

35. We give opportunities for professional growth.

36. We base our hiring and promotions decisions on adherence to these behaviors.

Core Value: Ethical Conduct (Score: Disagree or Agree)

37. We are fair to each other.

38. We respect each other.

39. We are honest with each other.

40. We are honest with our customers.

41. We accept responsibility for our mistakes.

42. We assume good intentions – until proven otherwise.

43. We communicate terrible news immediately to each other.

44. We exercise discretion in accepting client work based on consistency with our purpose, values and vision.

45. We give back to the communities we serve.

Core Value: Financial Sustainability (Score: Disagree or Agree.)

46. We are powerful in creating new business.

47. We are powerful in retaining existing customers.

48. We are powerful in controlling expenses.

49. We take reasonable risks, consistent with our purpose, values and vision.

50. We provide the resources to maintain and propel the firm.

51. We share the financial information needed to make sound business decisions.

52. We provide the training needed for people to understand our financial reports.

Note: Make sure people’s reactions are treated with classification while completing this sort of survey. Don’t stress yourself over who said what. Your focus ought to be on finding the general qualities and shortcomings of the firm.

You can use a similar approach to create a performance appraisal. Simply change the word “we” to “I” – and you have an appraisal that is very much incorporated with your core values. Similarly, you can generate a list of questions to use in interviewing job candidates. After confirming their technical expertise, ask them to recount examples of how they demonstrated these behaviors before. You’ll quickly get a thought of how well they’ll fit into your way of life.

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