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People Succession

People Succession: Lessons from Forward Thinking Executives in Middle-Market Companies

 

by Carol Bergeron

 

A provocative read for executives, the board of directors, and people managers in middle-market and aspiring middle-market companies who choose to groom the next generation of leaders while reducing the risk of organizational underperformance due to job vacancies and capabilities’ shortages. Learn more

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Feb 2015: Core Values - 6 Easy Ways to Convert Them Into Competitive Advantage

By Carol Bergeron

As a leader, your role is to move individuals and the organization closer to achieving their goals. Thus it behooves you to make use of every tool at your disposal. This month’s blog entry highlights an important tool – organizational core values and how to convert them into competitive advantage.

As a leader there are a few things to know about core values:

A. What are core values?
Beliefs and attitudes that show up in the daily behavior, action, and decision making of people. Each one of us has our own set of values that guide how we live our lives. Like individuals, organizations have core values. They work best when purposely chosen to support the uniqueness of the business.

B. When do companies define their core values?

Well, some don’t which puts company culture as well as the customer, supplier, and employee experience are at risk. What results? The most imposing leaders influence the values within their pockets of the organization. Couple that with employees who live by their own set of rules and you get a fragmented workforce encountering regular conflict and an inconsistent customer experience.

Unlearning values by happenstance is a tall order. For executives who want everyone moving in the same direction, core values may initially be crafted early in the life of a company. Alternatively they may be defined at major transitions such as rapid growth, commercialization, globalization, new leadership or ownership, turnaround or when big changes to the business strategy or model occur. They tend to stand the test of time when selected to support the uniqueness of the business. 

C. Why do organizations invest in developing and implementing core values?

Because they are instrumental in increasing employee engagement. The more engaged employees on your payroll the more likely you are to outperform the competition.

A quick look at data gathered by Gallup (State of the American Workplace, 2013, Gallup.com) indicates that 70% of employees are not engaged. And among the companies that ranked in the top 25% of their organizations for engagement, they showed:

• 22% higher profitability
• 21% higher productivity
• 10% higher customer satisfaction
• 25% lower turnover in high-turnover organizations
• 65% lower turnover in low-turnover organizations
• 37% lower absenteeism, 48% fewer safety incidents, and 41% fewer quality incidents.

It has been estimated that on average the cost of a disengaged employee is 46% of salary in lost productivity.

D. Once defined, how do you keep the values alive and well at your organization?

Excellent question. Defining the values will get you only so far.

  1. First and foremost, leaders must walk the talk through their words, decisions, and actions.
  2. Help employees express the values in terms relevant to their jobs.
  3. Build the values into the recruiting and selection process.
  4. Introduce the values when onboarding new hires.
  5. Integrate them into coaching conversations, your performance management system and development initiatives.
  6. Recognize and reward people for contributions where the values operated as their guiding principles.

Core values can truly translate into competitive advantage. Take it a step further by engaging customers, suppliers and other stakeholders in the conversation. 

Let me know if you would like more information so that you may move this leadership imperative forward.

Carol Bergeron is the author of 'People Succession: Lessons From Forward Thinking Executives in Middle-Market Companies' which highlights the 7 steps Carol uses to accelerate the design and implementation of succession planning & management. For more than 16 years and through a mix of consulting, coaching, facilitation, and speaking services, Carol has helped leaders become talent magnets. And in doing so these leaders have experienced the sheer joy of helping people advance their careers and their organizations excel. (www.bergeronassociates.com, 781-376-4071)