Q: We created our core values about 6 months ago, and did a big intro session to the team, but we’re not seeing the shift in attitude (and behaviour) we expected. What suggestions do you have?
Creating a cultural shift is a multi-faceted challenge. The age of your business, tenure of your team members and distance from ‘where you are’ to ‘where you want to be’ will all impact the speed of uptake. To advance your efforts, consider these 4 factors:
1. Continuity is Key
A single prompt won’t cut it for most; your job title moves from CEO to CRO (Chief Repeating Officer) during periods of change. Many people will be hoping this is a fad and your focus will move to something else and status quo will resume. As such, they will sit on their hands until consistently prompted to do more. Integrate these messages into your daily toolbox meetings, your appraisal conversations, any recognition strategies should also be framed through your core values. Momentum won’t create itself, so make the values part of your everyday language/messaging and expect the same of your team – especially those in positions of authority.
2. Vulnerability creates Permission
The burden of leadership is that your team will expect you to continually exemplify all the values. Obviously, nobody is perfect, but its important to acknowledge YOUR missteps, frailties and blind spots FIRST. By doing so you show integrity and authenticity, then as you make progress in those areas trust is built. You can leverage this trust by asking others to acknowledge their shortcomings and provide support as they try to improve. You can’t ask others to change before you personally model the change.
3. Win with the Willing
Some of your team will have ‘brought in’ and made progress already. Focus your energies towards these people in the initial stages to ensure their success. Once their progress is visible to the wider group, celebrate the example they’re setting with clear links to the values. Their success will prompt the next most willing group to adopt the concept. This is the law of diffusion of innovation in action.
4. Create (role specific) Context
Core values can easily be misconstrued as an exercise in ideology and symbolism. To avoid this work with your team to relate the core values to repeatable aspects of their daily routines. Get them to reframe the values in their own words, identify do and don’t behaviours for each value and think about who best exemplifies each core value and why they standout.
Place a bit more emphasis on these 4 aspects and you will begin seeing some positive progression!