Core Values, Corporate Culture, & Strategic Alignment
One thing most of our clients during the past 2 decades have had in common could be summarized in the following sentences:
- “Our leaders don’t take core values seriously.”
- “Most leaders are not familiar with our core values and don’t use them right.”
- “Our leaders don’t prioritize our strategy and don’t know how to act based on it.”
Here are the problems:
Wrong Core Values: Most companies’ core values are bland, ineffective, and often dishonest or unrealistic to say the least.
As such, unrealistic value statements create cynical and dispirited employees, alienate customers, and undermine managerial credibility. Picking the right core values must be done by someone who understands entrepreneurship, culture, and strategy because core values must be made compatible with your vision, mission, culture, and strategy. The extraction of the core values can only be effective if an expert engages the founders/senior levels of an organization. In other words, only the founders know whether employees should prioritize pace over customer centric behavior or vice versa, or when to prioritize which. Core values are a compass to help employees make such decisions in absence of the founders.
Wrong Use of Core Values: Quite often companies start the cascading of the core values at levels other than that of senior leadership. If the founders and senior executives of an organization determine the core values, they should also be the first ones to learn how to communicate them down the organization. More importantly, applying the core values by the senior leadership requires skills that leaders as Subject Matter Experts (SME) have usually never learned. There are ways to include core values in the skills that leaders use on a daily basis such as feedback, delegation, coaching, and team and individual decision making.
Lack of a Deep Alignment: Most companies treat core values as ethical principles unrelated to anything else. Core values must not only be integrated into a company’s vision, mission, and thus strategy, but core values also shape your corporate culture.
Depending on whether or not you deliberately apply your core values on a daily basis—say in how you give feedback, delegate, coach and make decisions—you will have a culture that you control or not. The more intentional you treat your core values, the more you will be able to manage the culture that is taking share in your organization. You can ignore your core values. A culture will still form. You are only not in charge. In the worst case scenario—which is actually in most companies—ineffective core values are contrary to honesty because the core values do not reflect the true reasons why founders established that company. They are also not properly communicated throughout the organization. Therefore, they are not well defined, well designed, properly shared, institutionalized, and honored in ways to create an alignment of:
- Culture, and
For close to two decades, we have been working with a wide variety of multinational corporations as well as North American, European, and Middle Eastern local companies in areas of stakeholder management, industry lobbying, people management and development, culture, leadership development, and strategy. This experience has given us the gift of insight: We understand culture, strategy, and leadership. But more importantly, we understand how they are interrelated.
We are also the only company in north of Toronto that bases all of its services on the latest findings of neuroscience. This means that in addition to understanding how to integrate core values into your culture and strategy, we know how the human brain functions during feedback, delegation, coaching and decision making which we will use to help your leaders communicate your core values and develop your next generation of leaders.
Our experience and expertise in leadership combined with neuroscience and strategy qualifies us to train your managers on unique skills. We are not aware of another company world-wide that trains leaders on using core values to develop people and stick with strategy.
We empower your managers to develop their subordinates and build your next generation of leaders. In our leadership development program, we train your leaders not only how to help their subordinates grow, but also how to guide them towards your strategic goals focusing on your core values. In other words, when we help you extract your core values, we will also make sure it’s integrated into your vision and mission statements. More is, we make sure your leaders apply your core values so as to uphold your culture and strategy on a daily basis. This said, when we work with you, we make sure:
- Your core values are genuine, effective, and true to your purpose
- Your leaders understand how they are related to your strategy
- Your leaders are empowered with skills to use core values on a daily basis—this is a promise—to develop people and stay loyal to your strategy and contribute to your culture.
This is what we understand under the term “Strategic Alignment”