The statement of core values at Clickstop is the foundation upon which the company has been a culture earning it recognition as a best place to work (and coolest place to work)
The second step to building a more positive and productive culture of ownership is creating a shared cultural vision. At Values Coach we use a construction metaphor to create a Cultural Blueprint for the Invisible Architecture in which the foundation is your organization’s core values, the superstructure is corporate culture, and the interior finish is workplace attitude.
If you have a good architect and a good builder, the transitions in a building are seamless – you don’t see where the foundation ends and the walls begin. Likewise, in a great organization there is no dissonance between foundation, superstructure, and interior finish. If one of the foundational values is integrity, there will be a culture of trust and an attitude that is intolerant to malicious gossiping and rumor-mongering.
When it comes to the things that really matter, like being a great place to work and having outstanding customer or patient satisfaction, your Invisible Architecture is far more important than the bricks and mortar in determining the experience. Yet while we pay excruciating attention to every detail of a new building, we allow the Invisible Architecture within that building to evolve haphazardly and without a plan.
Having a Cultural Blueprint for your Invisible Architecture is what guides you from where you are to who you are as an organization. Let’s look at each of the stages in our construction metaphor.
Foundation of Core Values
Your statement of core values should be the most important document in your organization. A great values statement defines who you are, what you stand for, and what you won’t stand for. The word “core” implies that these values are non-negotiable.The biggest problem with many organizational values statements is that they read like generic boilerplate and they actually set a pretty low standard. Of course your organization expects people to act with integrity and to provide great service to your customers – so do your competitors. For that matter, so does the cupcake shoppe downtown.
Cypress Semiconductor has five core values (you can read them at this link). One of them says “Cypress is about winning. We do not tolerate losing.” Another says “Cypress people are only the best. We are smart, tough, and work hard.” Now, you might not be happy working at a company with such tough love core values (and where the founder and CEO wrote a book titled No Excuses Management) but Cypress is very clear about what it stands for and what it won’t stand for. As a result, they almost never make hiring mistakes (who would even apply for a company known as The Marine Corps of Silicon Valley who didn’t think they had the mental toughness to thrive in that environment)
Superstructure of Corporate Culture
In my book The Florence Prescription: From Accountability to Ownership (www.TheFlorenceChallenge.com) I describe 8 essential characteristics of a culture of ownership: Commitment, Engagement, Passion, Initiative, Stewardship, Belonging, Fellowship, and Pride. If everyone where you work were to make a commitment to these qualities, not only would it be a great place to work and provide a great customer (or patient in healthcare) experience, the people who work there would be happier and more capable human beings.
One of the most innovative approaches to defining corporate culture, which has largely been pioneered in the high tech industry, is creation of a culture code. More than 14 million people have viewed the 124-slide PowerPoint for the culture code of Netflix, which was the first (you can view it at this link). The SlideShare website invites people to upload their culture codes at this link. You can download the one-page culture code of Clickstop and see how it builds upon the core values pictured above at this link.
Interior Finish of Workplace Attitude
This is where the rubber hits the road. In my article on Step 1 of the Cultural Blueprinting process I shared a chart showing that in many organizations, more people disagree than agree with the statement that their coworkers have positive attitudes, treat others with respect, and do not engage in toxic emotional negativity.
One of the most important insights we’ve had in helping hundreds of organizations work on cultural transformation is this: Culture does not change unless and until people change, and people will not change unless they are given tools to help them make the change and are inspired to actually use those tools. I’ll share several practical examples when we get to Step 4.
Creating a Cultural Blueprint
You can learn more about Cultural Blueprinting and the Values Coach Cultural Blueprinting Toolkit at www.CulturalBlueprint.com and watch my 45-minute YouTube webinar on cultural blueprinting at this link.
Next: Step 3 covers actions you can take to gain commitment to your cultural vision. You can see the introductory overview to this series at this link.