In the second year of our Agile-beyond-software transformation
, we had an “aha” moment. We realized our core values were fuzzy and didn’t necessarily reflect the company we are today. We trust employees to self-organize and make the “right” decisions – but they didn’t have clear principles to guide those decisions.
In a traditional environment, the executive team might hire a branding company to define and roll out the organization’s values. The company then typically ends up with words that are cliché, ambiguous and impossible to measure – values like “passion” and “excellence” – or a Dilbert-like phrase filled with buzzwords – such as “leveraging core competencies to achieve synergistic results”. That doesn’t cut it here.
So of course, we decided to turn the process on its head. We asked employees to tell the executive team what our core values are.
Employees were asked to write a value and short description on a card and post it on our newly-created Core Values wall. For two weeks, each employee could add as many or as few as they wanted, and in the end, employees contributed nearly 50 cards.
From there, we grouped the cards based on similar ideas, and came up with twelve high-level themes. Those themes then were put into a survey tool, where employees were asked to rank them. The results were crystal clear. Employees believe we have five core values, with the other seven supporting those.
Our final step was to have our marketing team help wordsmith the final values, because of course, they have to sound like us.
And here are the values that our employees believe make us who we are and define how we work with each other and our clients every day:
- Own it: We’re accountable to ourselves, each other and our clients. We keep our promises.
- Bring it: We deliver exceptional service and value every day. We’re aiming for Wow!
- Push it: We’re always moving forward or learning from our mistakes. Standing still is not an option.
- Say it: We’ve torn down the walls so ideas and information flow freely. Candid and direct is a way of life.
- Unite! We are strategic and creative, thoughtful and candid, fun and different. We’re one team, united by a common vision.
If you interact with any of us at Geonetric in any way – as a client, vendor partner, community neighbor, agile co-conspirator, prospective client or candidate for employment – I trust that you’ve been seeing those values in action for a long time. We’ve just finally written them down in a way that sounds just like us. Yep – nailed it.