Written by Matt Faulkner, Jan 05, 2018
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YES - Values and culture can be measured!
Why Values are More Powerful Than Rules
Values will drive behaviour in a predictable direction in circumstances where rules do not or cannot exist. Therefor in the dynamic and fluid world of Customer Experience Management where it is impossible to create a set of rules for every eventuality an organisation that is values led has a greater potential to succeed than one that is rules led. Values tend to support creativity and positive disruption and rules tend to constrain and maintain the status quo.
Philip Forrest - President of The International Customer Service Institute, Chairman of Judges Of The European Business Awards
There are some explanations on the models file but this info may help in a consulting process where the aim is to separate and clarify each step with the aims of making sure the directors of an organisation are clear about what they mean at each stage and are thereby better able to direct, communicate and manage a values driven process.
- Company description – many companies have great trouble in defining what they are. The company description should avoid becoming over complex and not venture into any “how” or “when”. e.g. Not so good is :- “ XXXYY is a leading financial services organisation that will grow in the next decade by offering the best products in all markets in which it operates” . Better is “ XXXYY is an International Bank” Clean and crisp and not venturing into Policy and Strategy.
- Strategic Intent. A great deal of wasted effort is spent trying to differentiate Mission from Vision form other such words. It is unimportant which term is used as long as there is a destination or journey described which informs stakeholders where the organisation is intending to get.
- Values - This stage has 3 steps and should be quite forensic (painful at times but absolute clarity now reduces the potential for misunderstanding later). Key point. It is the sum and priority of the values which in the belief of the leaders that prescribes the culture of the organisation.
- The one/two word title of the value – e.g. Honesty , Relentless Innovation, Social Responsibility, Added Value, etc. etc. These are factors which the leaders of the organisation truly believe are drivers of the way the organisation behaves in order to be successful.
- A description which describes what the leaders actually mean by the one/two word title.
- e.g. Honesty – Could mean
- “ We will trade in a way which conforms to the legal framework that governs the sector in which we work” - Could be a like major Bank??
- “ We aim to set the global standards of ethical integrity and only work with a supply chain that supports that aim” – Could be like Body Shop??
So one word with two widely different meanings which would lead an organisation in different directions.
- Prioritising the values. It is important that there is consensus among the key leaders on the order in which they would place the values (often imagining how they rank them in a time of crisis – a priority grid is a helpful tool at this stage.
- Expectations – This is THE key stage that drives the measurement capability. This is also a difficult stage to facilitate but also key to getting an effective operational platform
Base Proposition – A “Value” is essentially a “Belief”. An individual will hold a belief in the expectation that the belief will deliver some expected outcome (expectation). (If it fails to so do the belief is likely to be abandoned).
The purpose of this stage is to have the leaders of the organisation identify from each Value what they expect the organisation to achieve and/or the way in which it behaves. The number of expected behaviours can and usually does vary from value to value.
Example (from a real company)
Value - High Performance People
Definition – Success depends on creating and managing a work climate which challenges and supports our people to be the very best that they can be.
1 - Our people are motivated to perform to the highest standards
2 - People are responsible and accountable for their performance
3 - People feel confident they are part of a winning team
4 - Everyone takes responsibility for their own continuous learning
5 - Everyone accepts the challenge
6 - Our people feel proud of themselves, their performance and the company
7 - Our people have the tools they need to do the job
8 - Our people are skilled to do the job
9 - We attract, recruit and retain the best people
10 - Success is recognised and rewarded
11 - Personal progress is success driven
12 - Our people are committed to achieving success
This list provides the measurement platform for measuring the degree to which the desired culture is extant in the organisation. An easy to use/effective tool is to polarise each statement and ask respondents to agree/disagree on (say) a 10 point scale. The data can be presented horizontally or vertically or regionally to show how issues my vary by division, level or region.
- Policy . The results of the measurement should now inform the focus and creation of policy (which is a framework to specify, quantify and deliver resources to resolve/improve an issue) which addresses the issues identified by the measurement. – A second phase of measurement at an appropriate later time will show the effectiveness of the policy
- Strategy. With the resources available strategies for their deployment can be established
- Tactics – Identifies and implements the detailed actions to be taken
Measurement . A second phase of measurement at an appropriate later time will show the effectiveness of the policy, strategy and tactics across the organisation and necessary adjustments and made but the same Values will still drive the behaviours of the organisation
Typical but not only facilitation Steps
Has been most effective in “Away Day” out of office type environments.
- Steps 1 & 2 - Usually comprise one step with the “home work” for them to think about values for the next step.
- Agrees the final text for Steps 1 & 2 and sets about step 3 with aim of getting a first draft. “ Homework” for them is to think about definitions of the one word values and the values priority
- Getting the values definitions and priorities nailed down. “ Homework” for them is to think about the Expected Results of each value
- Typically the toughest part - Getting draft Expected Results for each value. “ Homework” for them is to refine them.
- Finalise the Expected Results.
- The next steps are fairly standard measurement and subsequent Policy and Strategy development.