These days, most companies have stated core values. Many CEOs intentionally initiate conversations within their companies to ensure these values are front and center in their dealings with customers and employees. When difficult decisions are before us, we often ask ourselves, “what is the right thing to do?”; “how does our value of x or y, apply in this situation?”

  • But what about the day to day?
  • How do we know that the routine services we provide reflect our values?
  • How do we know that what we decide to do is actually executed in a manner consistent with our values?

In this Kellogg Insight article, Bernie Banks, professor of management and associate dean for leadership development, offers these four steps leaders can take to ensure their organizations walk the talk.

  1. Articulate your organization’s core values – referring to these principles routinely before, during and after key projects or regular meetings.
  2. Measure against these standards – ensure your performance evaluation systems apply the same level of scrutiny to examining the “how” of what team members do as to the “what”.
  3. Call out behavior in yourself and others – borrow from the army, conduct “climate surveys” assessing how individual behavior in the aggregate reflects the organization’s core values. Be transparent about sharing and discussing these results.
  4. Invite outsiders to critique the company’s actions – Informally ask for feedback from stakeholders outside your company and even better do it formally, asking “how do you believe our actions align with our stated intentions?”.

Getting all the leaders in your company aligned to truly reflect what you say you want is not an easy task. Like everything else, it requires intention and attention, daily in fact, says Banks.

Why Vistage Works

Elisa K. Spain


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