Great idea in theory but how do I implement?  Have you ever been left with this thought?  Last weeks’ blog topic arose from a question by a Leadership Roundtable participant. Seeing that people had questions, I decided to ask my valued TLS subscribers in our weekly newsletter for other ideas so I could continue to provide the value they are looking for.  I received the following question that I am addressing today:

“One area where I feel challenged is keeping our Purpose and Values discussions fresh within our team. I would welcome any suggestions and ideas on this subject.”

This is a very important topic as it rests squarely on the leader’s shoulders to foster and elevate the organization’s purpose and values.

The following are things I have found effective throughout my career, as well as ideas I have seen implemented by clients that will keep discussions around purpose and values at the forefront of discussions within an organization:

  • First, a leader’s actions will outweigh their words. Be very cognizant about modeling the values in every aspect of your role. Reference values when making decisions or taking specific actions. When people hear a leader illustrating how values drive their actions it makes the desired culture come alive.
    • For example: I am honoring our value of integrity by returning $450 to this customer because we inadvertently over-billed them.
  • Require all team members to memorize the purpose and values of the organization. Randomly ask them to recite them in meetings and cite an example of a situation where they have advanced the purpose, or seen the values in action since the last meeting.
  • Start each meeting with celebrations, discussing stories where the organization’s purpose and values have been exemplified.
  • Get team members involved in making videos illustrating what it looks like to positively portray the values versus not meeting the standard on the value.
    • For example: A video of a head pressman illustrating the value of mutual respect and trust, by diving in and helping his crew cleanup after a web break and press malfunction as opposed to filling out paperwork while the team did all the work.
  • Leader sends a daily voice mail message to all team members to reinforce the core values of the organization’s culture. This is also an opportunity to praise accomplishments, share concerns for those in need, and share other inspirational ideas around leadership and encouragement.
  • Supply all team members with an item such as a shirt, pen, plaque, coffee cup, etc with the values of the organization printed on the item. Keeping values visible for all to see in numerous places throughout the organization will be great reminders of the desired culture.
  • Make values and the associated expected behaviors a key part of 1 x 1 Meetings and Performance Evaluation discussions.
  • Provide team members with ways to formally recognize their peers when they see positive values performance.
    • For example: Zappos has 10 core values. They developed a process for peers to recognize peers for illustrating the company values by awarding team members with an item that depicts each of the 10 values. It is every team member’s goal to get all 10 items to proudly display in their workspace.
  • Leaders consistently find ways to ask team members how they are doing in modeling the expected values and behaviors of the organization.
    • For example: Conduct formal or informal climate surveys with direct reports and other team members to ascertain areas that need to be improved. “How could I improve on the value of “Commitment to Excellence”?

There is not a one size fits all approach, but servant leaders always look for innovative ways to keep values and the desired behaviors at the forefront of everyone’s mind. I encourage you to look for ways to integrate this focus into everything you do.

What are some unique ways that you elevate the desired values of your organization?


For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.   Matthew 6:21

P.S. If you have a question you would like me to expand on don’t be afraid to ask via comment below, email, facebook, or twitter.