By Jamie Latiano Jacobs, Chief Catalyst & Founder of Catalyst Strategy Solutions
In 2009, Simon Sinek’s TED Talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” went viral, achieving over 36 million views. His discussion of the power of leading with purpose struck a chord in millions of people because it revealed our collective frustration—our unwillingness to continue to settle for mediocrity in the workplace.
Going through the motions and earning a paycheck is no longer enough to feel satisfied at work. People want to tap into something, believe in something bigger than themselves that feeds us both personally and professionally. More and more people are believing in their “right” to live in alignment and flow.
Advancements in how we work are providing more and more options for talented people to find that individual alignment; increasing options to join the gig or talent economy and flexibility in work arrangements allow people to consider what works for them. This, combined with the increasing shortage in the talent supply, will bring this front of mind for organizations who compete to attract and retain great talent.
Understanding one’s purpose for doing anything is now mission critical in the workplace.
Over the last ten years Human Resources leaders have shifted their focus to defining and launching company values, and building an internal operating system rooted in authentic culture to help keep those values at the forefront of everything the company should do from hiring, to establishing internal processes and guiding the way employees engage with customers.
If you want your business to thrive in today’s economy, you must align personal and company values. Here are a few ways to get started:
- Ask current and prospective employees questions that help determine if they understand and share the company’s values.
- Find out what motivates your employees and what will help drive them to do great work for the company.
- Build an environment where people feel safe to be their authentic selves and to provide feedback.
Equally important, there needs to be a plan in place to help remind people that they share the same values as the company. As Simon Sinek points out, values must be more than a marketing slogan and the brief cheerleading moment during meetings. If employees fail to remember they share a common thread of purpose with their employer, it will be challenging for them to not only stay engaged, but to find the motivation to put their best self forward day in and day out. How do you keep the organization connected to the collective why?
Values are a keystone to the most successful companies. They act as a True North and help people stay focused. The same goes in life. When people feel like they have purpose they are always able to keep moving forward, even in the most difficult times.
If you feel like your company needs to refresh or course correct alignment with company values, here are a few things to consider:
- Consistency of message internally and externally throughout both the client and employee experience. Clarity of organizational values align the team and helps employees and clients receive communication with clarity and reinforces trust.
- Everyone must buy in on living the company core values and be held accountable to doing so. Build integrity and trust by consistently ensuring all levels of management modeling the stated values. The consequences of not being in alignment can result in severe disengagement, unhealthy behaviors, lack of focus, and fractured teams. This can derail even the best strategies and we know that most people leave managers, not companies.
- Review company policies and internal operating systems to ensure that operationally, your organization is in alignment and messages to employees are consistent.
As I embark as my new journey of starting my own business, I’ve had many friends, ask me, “What’s your why?” I am passionate about helping build high performing organizations that create environments for everyone to thrive and develop, holistically. Even starting as a company of one, alignment in values help decision making about time management, the types of engagements that feed my passion, and fuel why I’m doing what I’m doing.
Want to dig deeper into how you can leverage company values to turbocharge your talent? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.