From the author:
Values and corporate culture: nothing but sound and smoke?
They jump to you from the company website, are developed in elaborate and long positioning workshops and have a place of honor in every image brochure: We are talking about company values. Everyone has heard about it, the board members are clear: Yes, our company needs that too - at least for the right public image.
And there is already the sticking point. Values that are only intended to give the company the right effect are nothing but sound and smoke. They look good on glossy brochures - but these companies are miles away from true implementation. How do executives implement values that they really are lived and why is a solid value structure relevant to everyday business?
The following example proves: Values that a company is committed to can not simply be implemented from the outside. Rules are not enough. Corporate values must be lived in all areas. From the interview to the canteen planning, because values reflect a setting.
Teamwork on Arrangement: Of Canteens And Hierarchies
An example: For a renowned large company it was clear: "We want to live a culture of cooperation and cooperation in the future." Employees and managers should be able to engage in an open exchange with each other in order to get the best possible result for the company. Just no shyness and no hierarchy. When it came to the conception of a new staff canteen, it quickly became clear that the company value "open and without hierarchy" existed only in theory.
The idea of a communal canteen for the entire workforce did not please the board level at all. Most people were convinced that an “extra” canteen, for example for important customer meetings, would be an advantage - not every employee has to listen. So far, really, so fatal. On the rational level makes the argument Sense - Of course there are sensitive meetings with high-ranking customers who require some privacy and seclusion. But what speaks against going to a classy restaurant with these customers? Building two canteens contradicts the highly praised and unanimously nodded culture of the company in almost all respects. It sends the message: you down there, we up here.
Checklist: Identify your own values
The most important question when defining a value channel is: what is really important to me? Often the honest answer to the question also calls out unpleasant feelings, doubts about oneself and one's own activity, the realization that a new orientation is needed. These are all important steps in the right direction. Other questions that help to narrow down one's own values are:
- What makes me credible?
- Do I have role models, and if so, which and why?
- How do I meet people?
- In which situations am I particularly credible and present?
- Which image of man leads my everyday life?
- How do I define success, recognition and appreciation?
- What values do I use to guide my actions?
- What are the requirements that I have to bring along to be a leader?
- What is my task?
- Should the result be that one's own values do not conform to those of the company, then something must change. Managers can not expect employees to support and live values they already reject.
Cultural Fit: Find the right people with the right values
If you want to lead successfully, you need a firm and, above all, a genuine set of values in order to be able to make the right decision that is right for the company, even in ethical borderline cases. The definition of one's own values becomes the inner compass that helps to define the attitude to oneself and other people more clearly. In a second step, these values can then be compared with those in the company. Only in an environment in which these two quantities are almost congruent, productive work is possible in the long term.
A central issue or rather problematic that many companies deal with today is the question: How do I find and hold the right employees? Again, the company values are to be cited as a powerful argument. Because as it is currently handled in the banking industry often ("I buy three start-ups and offer twice the salary"), it does not work. People are looking for meaning, fulfillment at work, a cultural work environment that meets their own expectations.
Checklist: Identify your own culture of mistakes and communication
Every innovative company should therefore seriously consider the following factors:
- How do we deal with each other here?
- Do I want to promote self-responsibility among my employees or do I prefer full control?
- Does an open culture of mistakes exist or are missteps sanctioned?
Such ruthless self-analysis is not easy or even a one-time process. But if it is carried out correctly, the cultural transformation of the company creates a competitive advantage that can not be copied. Culture is not a purely analytical process. It is always a process between people. It's no use defining ad agency values and then announcing to employees that they have six weeks to implement them. That's nonsense. People need to be involved - then we do not have to talk about implementation anymore.
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German edition: ISBN 9783965960985
English version: ISBN 9783965960992 (Translation notice)
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