The Steps To Take When Developing Team Values

Do make sure you read the first article in this series before you start developing your team values. The first article provides really good context and examples that you should share with your team.

Below are the three steps, that I've successfully used with several teams to help the redraft their values.

1. Imagine you are starting afresh.

Brainstorm all the behaviors, qualities, characteristics, feelings you would want your new team members to have, so that your team can deliver the results the business needs. Your group will probably come up with a list of 50+ words

Here are a few examples: Leadership, Teamwork, Technical Competency, Ability to Learn, Initiative, Integrity, Open Communication, Fun

2. Pare the list down to 6-8 values

Your group should then pare this list down, to the core 6-8 values that the business will use, to guide its decision-making.

Values are universal. We all know what makes for a good life - be it personally or organizationally. So, when developing team values don't be surprised that your list is very similar to hundreds of other companies. There will be one or two in your list that make your team uniquely you!

(Hint, don't just go for the values that get the most votes. Sometimes a value that someone has put up, but others didn't think of at the time, maybe just perfect for your team)

3. Describe the values

Now here is where the rubber meets the road. This step in the process of developing your values gives you the edge between having a bunch of listed values that may or may not get used and values that inspired improved performance.

For each value, in small groups, answer these three questions:

  • Describe what ... (insert the value) ... means to you
  • Describe the behaviors you believe will demonstrate this value
  • Describe the results that will follow, by people having/using this Value

Once the small groups have created their answers, then come together as a larger group and decide upon the final list. This may take a skilled facilitator to bring together for you, but it is definitely worth the time.

Click here to review an example of this activity using the value of Willing and Able To Learn

It is important that ALL team members have the chance to take part in Step 3 of this exercise. If you don't, you won't get buy in.

When team members are given the time to discuss and ponder the meaning of a value and how it will be applied in their day to day, and the results that can be expected they will be more committed to seeing to it that the value is used.

A Mistake To Avoid When Developing Team Values

When developing team values, please do not make the mistake of putting profit as a value - it is not a value it is a goal!

Every business must make money (even non-profits) to survive - just like you and I need oxygen to survive. But oxygen and profits are not the reason for existence.

As Jim Collins discussed in his ground-breaking book "Good to Great" the most successful companies did not focus primarily on profits - they stood for something bigger - yet because of this they were highly profitable.

Bring The Values To Life

Once you've got your 'described' list of values, use them (along with your Guiding Principles) to make the organizational design choices that support that value being used on a daily basis within the business to drive the performance that Step 3 defined as results.

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