In this installment of our monthly guest blog series, our CEO John Jutila reflects on corporate values, including the challenges many organizations face in effectively implementing them, and what sets Champion ONE apart.
Many organizations have a list of values – you know, those posters you occasionally see “parked” on their walls. The problem is that values on posters may not be on the minds of employees. If you combine the values listed on a dozen corporate posters, you will come up with a fairly standard menu of potential values used by many organizations. Some organizations have a short list while others have a potpourri of over a dozen, to the point of diluting the meaning of any individually stated value.
Regardless of which or how many values are chosen, many organizations do not practice their core values well enough. That is a pity because strong values are the one thing that can clearly differentiate one organization from others in a competitive and increasingly commoditized world. The most critical outcome of values is a set of consistent, observable behaviors. When people are passionate about values, their behaviors become truly meaningful.
That passion requires a shared values commitment and an understanding of purpose combined with a multitude of ways to keep core values front and center in how the organization operates. The entire team must drive the values forward, rather than rely on the efforts of just a few leaders. All the effort that organizations put into developing values can erode quickly when leaders do not set the highest example in practicing them, teams tolerate too many exceptions from them, or alignment does not exist across core values, brand promises, and daily operational behaviors.
I admit this is “soft” stuff – hard to articulate, difficult to develop or change, tough to measure, and challenging to determine a clear cost-benefit. That is why many organizations are not effective in developing a clear set of values into a competitive advantage: it is difficult to do across a diverse population of employees.
At Champion ONE, we have embarked on a long journey to identify, infuse, and actively encourage the values and behaviors that have made us successful and our customers satisfied – I call them the “Values of Champions.” Some of the ways we infuse our values into our daily business include:
- Exploratory monthly values workshops with all employees,
- Using our core values as a hiring filter, and embedding values into our performance appraisals
- Referring to our values in our decision-making,
- Applying our values to solutions we co-develop with our customers
- Continually discussing and implementing new ways to infuse our values and resulting behaviors deeper across everything that we do.
While I cannot accurately measure the results, I can clearly see the impact every day through internal interactions among employees, and externally with customers and partners. By observing these behaviors and positive outcomes, I know that shared values can indeed be very, very powerful.
You can learn more about our values here.