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Have you read the first part of this article? You may like to look at the overview of the importance of developing guiding principles before jumping into these four steps to develop principles.
Step 1. Articulate the Values
To create your guiding principles, you must have already identified your top 3-5 core values.
These are the values you believe will drive the behaviors needed to achieve the outcomes of the business. Click here for tips on developing team values.
Please don't just develop the values and then leave them on the wall. You must use them to guide every decision, and to lead and engage your people. If you leave them on the walls, you'll create cynicism and under-performance.
Step 2. Identify the Irrational Rules, Policies, Procedures
Work with your front-line team members to identify the policies, rules, and procedures in your workplace, which either
Toss out those that are irrational and don't support the business to achieve its goals. Click here for examples of poor decisions due to irrational policies.
Step 3. Develop the Guiding Principles
As you develop your guiding principles keep these guidelines in mind:
For each value create a statement that completes the statement
"People will be ...(insert value)... when they". Here are a couple of examples:
Value = Flexibility
People will be flexible when they:
Value = Technical Competency
People are technically competent when they:
Step 4. Apply the Principles
One of my favorite exercises with groups, is to ask them for examples of how they've used the organization's values while making decisions in the past week.
95% of the time, most groups have difficulty clearly stating their values and, certainly didn't consciously use them to make decisions!
Placing Values/Principles in cards and handbooks do not bring them to life!
Your principles and values must align behavior and drive performance.
To make them real, leaders must:
If they can't they should either change the principles or leave the organization.
Many organizations spend (probably better said, waste) a lot of time developing their principles and/or values. Maybe even having them printed up and placed in cards and handbooks. And, that is often as far as it goes.
All it does is breed cynicism and discontent. You know this to be true - you probably work in one of those organizations!
Leaders communicate their commitment to the organizational values and principles more by their actions than their words. For example, at one of the companies I worked at, Teamwork and Flexibility were two of our values.
One time we had a massive fire in the facility. For the next fortnight every single person was involved in the cleaning and sweeping up of the mess, so we could get back to operation. From the Site Manager, to the Receptionist, to the production team members .
Does that mean the Site Manager and Receptionist, should be at the end of a broom all the time? Of course not.
However, if in the moment it is the right thing to do, then you must illustrate the principle by living the principle. Of being a team member and being flexible in what you will do.
Principle-Centered, High-Performance Leaders consistently
use these three questions in their decision-making process:
- 1"Is this decision aligned with our principles and values?"
- 2"How will this decision affect our business over the next 3, 5, 10 years?"
- 3"What is the possible impact it could have on how our people behave and feel?"
Use the questions above, as you make similar type decisions in your business, to give yourself a much better chance of making design choices, that will lead to the long-term health and agility of your business.
Part 1 of this article
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