Leadership Story | Leaders Align Core Values

Day two of the new 2019 Academy Leadership Advanced Leadership Course took place this past week. The client and I decided to switch days two and three allowing our group of eight to launch the Core Values Alignment Workshop as soon as possible. At the beginning of the workshop we watched a short video clip by Jim Collins describing Core Values & Company Culture featuring Jim Collins, Tony Hseih, and Steve Jobs. The description by Tony Hseih of Zappos really touched our group, particularly the part where he defined “committable core values” as values you are willing to hire and fire in support of and completely independent of actual job performance. 

Let’s pause and think about that. Chances are we’ve witnessed firing based on something bad such as lying or stealing, or based on company policy. Consider why most people are promoted. Usually it is almost exclusively based on job performance, rather than company values, or the opposite of what Tony Hseih describes. Toward the end of the video Collins states that the “right people” don’t have to be tightly managed, and that if they do, we’ve likely made a hiring mistake. Rather, we should hire based on the values of our organization and then adopt a leadership, or development based mindset which will allow our aligned teams to thrive.

Our group was challenged to actually list the values of their organization. It wasn’t meant to be an exercise where everyone peeked at an organizational website broadcasting a list of 5-8 core values. We split into two groups and each group attempted to describe what the organizational core values were. Interestingly both teams identified a list of perceived core values, and commented that the majority of these values were not known to everyone in the organization and certainly not modeled by everyone. That’s a bold and brave step, the beginning of defining core values. It’s going to take some time for this leadership cohort to understand and agree upon what the core values are, and more importantly, to align and commit to them. But we’re moving in the right direction.

What are your organization’s core values? Do you have to look them up? Do you and your team agree what they are and make daily decisions based on them? Does your Personal Leadership Philosophy connect to any of them? Leaders Align Core Values.