The Rock Habits Rock by Rock - Core Values and Purpose

In the last two articles we looked at the two habits focused on the People dimension of Scaling Up (Team health and alignment, Accountabilities) and in this article we look at the first of the two habits that are more focused towards the strategic dimension, Core Values and Purpose.

This habit takes us to the core of the reason for being of the business and asks whether..

"Core Values and Purpose are 'alive' in the organisation"

And the specific points on this habit are:

  • Care Values are discovered, Purpose is articulated, and both are known by all employees.
  • All executives and middle managers refer back to the Core Values and Purpose when giving praise or reprimands.
  • HR processes and activities align with the Core Values and Purpose (hiring, orientation, appraisal, recognition etc).
  • Actions are identified each quarter to strengthen the Core Values and Purpose in the organisation.

Core Values and Purpose are the Ideologies of the business. They define what your company is on earth to do and the guiding principles that the founders of the business hold true. All things the business does and how it does it should hold true to these two concepts. As they are so important, they should be used for hiring, on-boarding, development, appraisals (positive and negative) and recognition. And, because they are so important to the organisation you should put in place activities and actions that strengthen, reinforce and communicate the core values and purpose throughout the organisation.

So how do you implement Rockefeller Habit #7?

Core Values and Purpose

The best place to start here is to go back to the source. In 1996 Jim Collins published an article in the Harvard Business Review called "Building your company's vision" and in it he argued for the importance of these two key concepts. He also outlines some approaches on how to go about identifying or defining Core Purpose (including the "5 Whys") and Core Purpose (look for Jim Collin's "Mission to Mars" exercise). Here is a quote from Jim Collins on Core Values

"I’ve never encountered an organisation, even a global organisation composed of people from widely diverse cultures, that could not identify a set of shared values. The key is to start with the individual and proceed to the organisation. One way to identify your organisation’s authentic core values is to form what I call the Mars group. Imagine you’ve been asked to recreate the very best attributes of your organisation on another planet, but you only have seats on the rocketship for five to seven people. Who would you send? They are the people who probably have a gut-level understanding of your core values, have the highest level of credibility with their peers, and demonstrate the highest levels of competence. I’ll often ask a group of 50 or 60 people to nominate a Mars group of five to seven individuals. Invariably, they end up selecting a powerful, credible group that does a super job of articulating the core values precisely because they are exemplars of those values. One caveat: Top management has to be confident enough to trust the Mars group to do its work. In my experience, those executives willing to take this risk find that the group identifies organic values that the executive was tempted to impose from above. This experience in itself strengthens the manager’s belief in the core nature of the values." 

Actions to Live by

Core Values and Purpose are the heart and soul of the organisation so it takes work to make them alive within the organisation and to keep them alive. The actions to live by are the things you need to do to reinforce and strengthen core values and purpose within the organisation. These can be part of your communication rhythms, town halls, quarterly or annual themes or special events and prizes, what ever you need to do to bring them alive. The key thing here is to ensure you have regular review and refresh of how you communicate core values and purpose within your organisation.

Where do Core Values and Purpose and Actions to Live By fit on the Scaling Up One Page Strategic Plan? Right here on the left hand side of the first page

In the next in this series of articles on the Rockefeller Habits Checklist will stay on the theme of strategy and will address the BHAG, Core Customers, Brand Promises and your Elevator Pitch.



Posted by : ged | On Wednesday, 08 August 2018 | Modified On Monday, 03 September 2018


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