Through Guy’s Eyes

Ditch the ‘values’ and drive the profits

Dangerous values Little Shop of Horrors

My last blog post pointed out that, when you proudly present your employees with a list of values, you’re actually doing nothing more than giving them rope to hang you with. If you don’t remember why that’s the case, here’s a quick recap: values are dangerous because they’re ultimately generic blanket statements that are nigh on impossible to live up to, and often paint you as a fraud without sincerity when you inadvertently violate them – as you inevitably will.
That said, I do understand that having a framework to guide your culture is, well, valuable. My point is simply that there’s a better way of creating it – or, more to the point, co-creating it.

Let me say that again, because it’s important: culture must be co-created. The thing is that every organisation has a culture – the question is…. Is it accidental or intentional? In fact, it’s almost always unintentional, because it’s not something that can be imposed or driven from the top. So, while you, as an executive, may feel smugly satisfied that your employees treat each other like brothers and sisters because your values statement tells them that yours is a family organisation, on the ground, they might be engaged in frenzied sibling rivalry, leaving figurative blood all over the walls.

Culture cannot be crafted by way of a leader’s ‘engineering toolbox’. It’s a crowdsourced, mass movement behemoth with a life of its own – continuously evolving from a blend of humanity’s light and dark shadows in equal measure. It’s easier to attempt to tame the oceans.

Enlightened, progressive and transformational leaders understand that this isn’t an exercise in telling employees how they are to live their 9-to-5 lives. Instead, it’s about asking them about what’s important to them, and how the organisational ‘wish list’ can best be made manifest with specific context to the broader strategy.

This is precisely the process we deliver when guiding the co-creation an organisation’s unique Blueprint. We interview each employee to find out what they think the company is doing well (what they need more of), and where they need to improve (what they need less of) to achieve the primary business goal. Thereafter, through factor analysis, thematic grouping, election distillations (sorry, I’m becoming a bit technical now), codification, creative expression, artistic displays, socialisation tools (nearly done), scorings, action feedback and correlations to financial performance (Okay, I’m done) a 50% measurable growth in cultural wellness is typically achieved within an 18 month period.

Enable the energies of the masses to build a winning environment where everyone thrives. Let them build the culture of their own making, with a laser fixation on how they can contribute to your bigger-picture objectives, and watch your profits grow – as many MBA case studies on the Blueprints Method™ have shown.

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    Guy Martin is the founder & Managing Director of Blueprints: assisting CEOs to drive growth by increasing the alignment of their people to business goals by 50% within an 18 month period.