My company just distributed a new values statement and I’ve been instructed to roll it out and make it a part of life in my department. I’ve never done this before – what should I do?
It’s not surprising that this is new to you. Changes that deeply impact culture are made only infrequently. The steps I outline below will be equally appropriate implementing a values statement, a code of ethics, a new mission or vision statement, or any other change designed to strengthen or change the existing corporate culture.
First, request a written copy of the values statement – preferably a copy that is poster size. Then frame it and post it on the wall in a central area.
Follow the posting as soon as possible with a full staff meeting. At this meeting do NOT read the values statement out loud unless you have a strong desire to see your employees’ eyes glaze over. Instead, hand out copies to each person and have them read it silently. Then lead a discussion by asking:
- How will this impact what we do on a daily basis?
- What will these values look like in action?
- Do you have any examples from past experience that illustrate using these values?
Be careful not to dominate the conversation. Instead, leave some quiet time if needed and encourage your staff to do most of the talking.
Start future meetings with a 2-3 minute review of one value. Then ask for examples where people have seen this value in action in the last two weeks.
You can also add a value to the bottom of your e-mail. (It’s easy to add it as part of your standard signature in Outlook.) Then periodically (weekly or monthly) update your signature to include another. As you choose the new value, it can be chosen randomly or you may select one that seems to be neglected based on exhibited behavior.
Finally, when you gather as a group to make decisions, ask “What are our values? And how do they impact this discussion?” Alternatively, after making a decision, you can run it through the values and see if it is aligned with the values. For example, “Is the new procedure we’ve created in alignment with our value to respect individual rights?” At first, people may have trouble relating them to everyday decisions. But over time, they will begin to connect how everyday actions reflect and reinforce the company values.
Overall, your goal is to incorporate the company values into daily behaviors and decision making. This cannot be accomplished by a one time or annual meeting. It happens one day and one action at a time.
Good luck and have some fun with this!