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Company Values: Are they important? Driving behaviour for success

Businesswoman looking at team of businesspeople in miniature

Company Values: Are they important? Driving behaviour for success

Company values.  Most businesses have them. A quick Google search will show you that big names like Coca-Cola, Greggs, and Kellogg’s are even advertising them on their website, showing just how important they are.

Why bother spending all that time it takes to create a fixed, unyielding guide?

Well, the idea behind it is having principles to guide employees. That way, you can easier encourage them to follow the path you believe will help to fulfil your business goals.

Why do company values fail?

The problem with just having slogan-type company values is that they’re all the same.

We’ve all heard them before “…we are open and honest and treat everyone with fairness” a snippet taken straight off the Greggs website.

If you want to drive behaviours that really convert into business goals, you need to integrate these values into real work.

What is a catalytic mechanism?

The concept is to have a policy in place that creates a culture amongst staff to want to follow the right path.

An example of this is Granite Rock, an American company selling crushed gravel, concrete, sand and asphalt.

They wanted to match Nordstrom’s reputation for customer service.  They wanted their employees to strive for total customer satisfaction. They knew, though, that putting up posters with a set of regurgitated catchlines was not going to help them achieve this.

So instead, they implemented a policy known as “short pay”.  This means that if customers aren’t satisfied, they don’t need to pay.

The difference between “short pay” and a refund policy, is that a) customers don’t need to return the product and b) There’s no need for customers to complain. They simply choose what to pay on their invoice based on how satisfied they are.

The policy worked with great success. In 1992, as a small business, they won the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Why do catalytic mechanisms work so well?

In the instance of Granite Rock staff, it’s simple.  They need to work harder, otherwise they risk short payments. That puts their livelihoods at risk.

At management level, there’s the incentive to find long-term solutions to issues, rather than providing quick fixes.

It’s this kind of hard-to-ignore feedback that prevents complacency, too.