Why do we interview people? I mean, we can see their qualifications on their resumes, on LinkedIn, and have more information available about them online than ever before. If they’ve got the right skills, just hire them, right? Fill the spot!
Of course not, obviously.
We interview people to see what kind of person they appear to be, whether they’re likeable, and whether we think they will “fit in” with us.
But “fit in” is a tough one, right? Not really. It’s easy if you have your VALUES STATEMENT done!
I can’t recommend enough that you write a values statement, discuss it with everyone in your organization, and publish it internally. Think about HOW you want to do business. And about how you want your customers, employees, vendors, and suppliers treated. You’re the leader, you get to decide, and these decisions – your values – become how the business runs.
This became especially important to me when my company grew large enough that I had managers who worked for me hiring their own people. It clarified what our company was all about, culturally. And we were successful, so why bring in someone who didn’t want to work the way we did? We had a winning formula, which I’ll share with you at the end of this post.
And as the CEO, I had 30 minutes of 1-on-1 orientation time with every new employee in their first day or two. I wanted to know a little about them, and I wanted them to understand how important maintaining our company’s values was to me.
Occasionally, a manager would come to me because someone was rubbing them the wrong way, or getting on their nerves, even if their job was getting done well. We’d refer back to our Values Statement with a highlighter in hand, and we always found the problem there. Maybe they were hogging information. Maybe they didn’t follow through. Maybe they were a gossip. Maybe they were consistently late and didn’t seem to care. We would counsel the person on the issue, and if it wasn’t corrected in a certain period of time, they had to go.
Jack Welch, the former CEO of G.E., in his book Straight from the Gut, wrote about four different types of people in his business.
- Those that performed well, and embraced the company’s values.
- Those that performed well, and did NOT embrace the company’s values.
- Those that DIDN’T perform well, but were in line with the company’s values.
- And those who DIDN’T perform well, and DIDN’T embrace what the company was all about.
He explained it was pretty easy to figure out what to do with the first and last groups: promote the first, and fire the last. But the ones in the middle were a little more difficult. Ultimately, he learned you could train people to do better jobs if they embraced the values of the company. But the people who might be really great at their jobs, but who did NOT embrace the company’s values had to go, as painful as that might be. Why?
Because job performance is a matter of education. But values have to do with a person’s belief structure.
You can educate people, but you can rarely change their beliefs.
I know this may seem like a softer side of leadership to you, but I will tell you we made hiring and firing decisions – some of the toughest decisions we face in business – with the guidance of this document. It made our lives easier, and decisions quicker, because we could pinpoint the problem quickly and effectively.
So here’s your challenge for today.
- Think about your values, HOW you want to do business, HOW you want people treated, and WRITE THEM DOWN.
- Discuss these values with your co-workers to share them and get their input, and ultimately their buy-in.
- Publish these values internally for your organization to use as a guide.
As always, I welcome your input, questions, and comments. And please feel free to share this article if you found it of value.
Below is the Values Statement we created for Daycom Systems, my telecom company. Feel free to borrow as much as you want – as long as it applies accurately to YOUR values!
Daycom Systems Values Statement
These values provide the foundation for our company’s methods of operation. On this foundation rest the pillars of people, products, and processes that ultimately support our customers.
Professionalism & Results
- We invest our passion in our work and in our working relationships.
- We are serious about our results. We believe that being relaxed doesn’t mean being unproductive. Laughter and light-heartedness are essential to professional excellence. They also make our jobs FUN.
- We make deliberate decisions based on the best and most accurate data possible.
- We strive to be examples to others by our hard work, our smart work, and our willingness to help.
- Our organization is built by quality people who are compensated well for their results.
- We employ highly-qualified, professional team members, who strive to be the best in the business.
- Treat all customers, vendors, and associates with respect, courtesy and consideration in all forms of communication.
Teamwork & Respect
- We look for the opportunity to take accountability and give credit, rather than the reverse. Blame is useless.
- We look for ways to contribute to others’ successes.
- Everyone has talents and can make a contribution. Given opportunity, training, and the desire, people will flourish.
- We believe that no one is better than anyone else. We may have different roles and skills, but we all integral parts of the team.
- When we have a conflict with someone, we deal with the issue respectfully, constructively, and directly with the person concerned.
- We try to compliment and say “thank you” on a regular basis. We catch people doing things right.
Trust & Integrity
- We believe that people want to do well, to contribute to the team and others. We give trust first, and remove it only with evidence that a person is not trustworthy.
- We say what we mean and we do what we say. We are honest in word, action and motive.
- We don’t make commitments lightly. We are good to our word and can be counted upon.
Growth & Development
- We believe that management’s role is to provide direction, set goals, provide resources, and then get out of the way!
- We take responsibility for our own future. We are not victims.
- We continually strive for personal and team growth. We look for ways to gain knowledge, ability, and skill beyond what we have today.
- We think mistakes serve only to teach. The only failure is failing to learn from them.