Public Flogging of Those Who Don’t Display Your Company’s Values…

I'm pretty much on the record as saying that most company's values/mission/core values statements are awful.  It's not that the values are bad (after all, who could argue with putting the value of integrity or high communication culture on the brochure?), it's that they are either 1) non-actionable, or worse yet, 2) inconsistent with how people get rewarded in your company.

If you're going to have value statements that truly shape your culture, you better be ready to hire, reward/promote and, of course, fire according to those values.  If you don't hire/reward/fire according to the values you have, one of two things is true:

1.  You're promoting values that aren't real inside your culture, or Family values

2.  You don't really have any values that drive how results get delivered.

Jack and Suzy Welch would take that a step further.  They think that if you can get to the point where you fire someone because they didn't deliver results in a fashion consistent with the values of your company, you ought to publically say why you fired that person.  Read on:

"soft culture matters as much as hard numbers. And if your company's culture is to mean anything, you have to hang -- publicly -- those in your midst who would destroy it. It's a grim image, we know. But the fact is, creating a healthy, high-integrity organizational culture is not puppies and rainbows. And yet, for some reason, too many leaders think a company's values can be relegated to a five-minute conversation between HR and a new employee. Or they think culture is about picking which words -- do we "honor" our customers or "respect" them? -- to engrave on a plaque in the lobby. What nonsense."

Ninety percent of the time, managers give these people a big fat pass. "I know Jim can be a real jerk," they say, "but I just need him until the economy stabilizes." Or "Sure, Sally's attitude upsets everyone, but I've spoken to her. I think she's going to come around."

Actually, all Jim and Sally are doing is sending a big fat message to every other employee: Our company's values are a joke. And the only antidote is that Jim and Sally need to be sent home, and not with the usual "They want to spend more time with their families" BS out of the lawyers and HR, but with the truth. "Jim and Sally had great numbers," everyone needs to be told, "but they didn't demonstrate the values of this company." We guarantee that such a public "diss play," to put it more politely, will have more impact than a hundred "Our values really, really matter!" speeches by the CEO."

Once you've determined that someone has the skills to do the job, hire based on what you value/need most in the behavioral DNA of a candidate.  Once they're in and performing at an acceptable level, reward and fire with the values/behavioral DNA holding as much influence as raw performance itself.

It's the only way to ensure the values/behavioral DNA you put on the brochure really matter.  Telling people in a broad fashion why a bad actor was let go is a way to take that a step further.

Remember, it's not slander if it's true.

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