Tag Archives | Behaviors

Behaviors desired in the corporate culture. Valued behaviors are those that are observable and measurable demonstrations of desired values.

One Company’s Values Journey, Part II

Luck-02This week I continue my interview with the Luck Companies Chief Leadership Officer, Mark S. Fernandes. Mark is the person charged with transforming Luck Companies into a Values Based Leadership organization.

Last week we learned about the genesis of Luck Companies’ decision to change its culture. In 2004, senior leaders crafted four values – leadership, integrity, commitment, and creativity – and defined corresponding behaviors for each of those values. That was phase one, the foundation of Luck Companies’ transformation into a values based organization.

In 2009, senior leaders came to the conclusion that organizational cultures are shadows of the leaders. To have the culture that they wanted, Luck Companies’ leaders had to go first, modeling the way as an example for all others to follow. That was phase two, which they’re still engaged in.

I told Mark I loved the emphasis on defining their company values in measurable, behavioral terms. Mark said, “This became obvious to us in the first months of phase one. When we rolled our new values out to the company in 2005, outcome statements and corresponding behaviors were attached to each of the four values. These became part of every associates’ performance reviews that year.

In phase two, those behaviors became part of the Values Based Leadership 360 that all formal leaders complete annually.”

Accountability for values is much easier when you’ve defined specific behaviors for desired values. Typically when a company sets new values expectations, some leaders and players just don’t fit in the “new culture.” I asked Mark if Luck Companies’ had experienced that. Mark said, “We typically have 12-14 people on our senior leadership team. Over the past 11 years we have ‘lovingly set free’ eleven senior leadership team members.

Most were very smart people. They were wonderful human beings who performed quite well. It just became obvious by their attitudes, actions, and behaviors that their personal values did not align with the company’s values.”

If you’re not going to hold everyone accountable for valued behaviors, “your values are just words hanging on a wall,” Mark explained. “You’re better off not having them.”

How do leaders at Luck Companies know their culture is on track? Mark said, “We analyze trend data from our annual leader 360’s and our annual associate engagement surveys. We hold ‘What’s on Your Mind?’ sessions at all locations throughout the year.

We demand transparency and feedback. We train for it, assess for it, and reward for it through out evaluation process. There is daily dialog across the enterprise relative to our mission and values – our organizational constitution.”

The big question for any company and it’s culture is about the “big three” – engagement, service, and results. Culture impacts each of these, deeply. Mark said, “The impact of Values Based Leadership has far exceeded our expectations. In our most recent engagement survey, 91% of our associates said they were engaged! The Hay Group’s global average is 30-40%.

Our employee effectiveness score was 84% compared to the Hay Group’s top performing benchmark of 55%. Our customer satisfaction score is 76% compared to an industry norm of 55%. Our results show us outperforming industry norms by similar margins.”

I’m inspired by the work Mark and his peers are doing at Luck Companies. They are proof that being intentional about values pays off – in many ways.

I’m indebted to Mark and to Megan Dougherty who willingly and ably facilitated this interview.

What are your takeaways from the Luck Companies’ values journey? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google +.

How healthy is your team or company’s culture? Don’t guess – get the data with my online Culture Effectiveness Assessment.

Want hands-on guidance for boosting productivity while reducing drama at work? Join me in Denver for my Culture Leadership Roundtable. This series, based on my book, The Culture Engine, meets one-morning-a-month starting in March.

Photo © Luck Companies and Values Based Leader. All rights reserved.

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The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

One Company’s Values Journey

VBL-definitionIf you’re a frequent reader of these pages, you know I’m always enthused to discover high performing, values-aligned organizations.

I’m delighted to bring you the Luck Companies story. Over the next several weeks I’ll share my conversation with Mark S. Fernandes, Chief Leadership Officer, the person charged with transforming Luck Companies into a Values Based Leadership organization.

Most companies don’t start by being intentional about the culture they want. They have a desired product or service so they build their business around crafting those desired elements and getting them into customers’ hands, under budget and profitably. Only when company leaders stop to examine the health of their culture do they actively engage in making it better.

Luck Companies is a 92-year-old organization based in Richmond, VA. On first glance, you’d see Luck Companies as a stone company – crushed stone, architectural stone, and even clay courts. A deeper look finds an organization that is intentional, focused, and committed to igniting human potential through Values Based Leadership (VBL).

I asked Mark, “What was the genesis of Luck Companies’ decision to change it’s culture?”

Mark explained, “When Charles Luck IV became the CEO and President in 1995 – our third generation leader from the Luck family – we were a small, tight-knit, family owned and operated organization. We decided to grow the company, and grow we did!

By 2002, we had close to 1,300 associates and sales had quadrupled. Cash flow increased by nine times during that timeframe.”

Along with that growth came organizational stresses and dysfunction. Mark explained, “We no longer looked like the company Charlie’s dad and grandfather had built. We brought in a consultant to work with our leadership team.

That first morning, the consultant introduced himself and asked us to take out a piece of paper and to write down everything we wanted to change about the company. He gave us ten minutes. With all the dysfunction, we each had a lot to say!

The consultant then asked a vital question: ‘How many of you wrote down yourselves?’

That question changed our lives forever. We began our values journey soon after and in 2009, we amped up the expectations and became a Values Based Leadership organization.”

I asked Mark to define VBL. He said, “Values Based Leadership is living, working, and leading in alignment with your core values, principles, beliefs, and purpose to in turn ignite the extraordinary potential in those around you.

Our company values are leadership, integrity, commitment, and creativity. We began our values journey by defining corresponding behaviors for each of our four values. We wanted to innovate for the future while preserving our values core. We felt that commitment and integrity were values that had existed in the organization since its founding. We wanted to preserve those going forward.

Leadership and creativity were two values that would carry us into the future.

We’ve had two phases in our journey. The first was to become a Values Based Organization (2004-2009) and the second as a Values Based Leadership organization. The distinguishing point came from learning that company cultures (defined by values) are shadows of the leaders.

To have the culture we wanted, leaders had to go first, modeling the way as an example for all others to follow.”

My interview with Mark continues next week.

How well are your team or company’s values lived in your organization? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google +.

I’m indebted to Megan Dougherty who willingly and ably facilitated my conversation with Mark – and added to my understanding of values-based leadership at Luck Companies.

How healthy is your team or company’s culture? Don’t guess – get the data with my online Culture Effectiveness Assessment.

Want hands-on guidance for boosting productivity while reducing drama at work? Join me in Denver for my Culture Leadership Roundtable. This series, based on my book, The Culture Engine, meets one-morning-a-month starting in March.

Photo © Luck Companies and Values Based Leader. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


Don’t miss any of Chris’ posts, podcasts, or updates – Subscribe Now!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Don’t settle for less than talented, engaged players

Car keys.Awhile back, Tom was out walking his dog near his home. He bumped into a neighbor who was out walking her dog, so they joined forces for awhile.

The dogs enjoyed each other’s company and the two neighbors made small talk. Until Tom’s neighbor asked about bringing her car in for service at the dealership where Tom worked.

Tom thought, “Boy, I hope she doesn’t get Keith as her service advisor. He’s really not very friendly with customers – even though we’ve coached him about it. Brenda isn’t much better. Maybe I can direct her to Mark so she has a great experience!”

Tom didn’t want his relationship with his neighbor hurt by one of their “prickly” service advisors. He said to his neighbor,”That’s awesome. I’ll hook you up with Mark – he’s a great service advisor.”

The good news is that Tom knew who his dealership’s worst and best service advisors were and he could direct his neighbor to a good advisor. But what about the dozens of customers who came in that week who had to work with their “less than great” advisors? Those lousy customer impressions wouldn’t help their business, at all.

Wouldn’t it be better if Tom didn’t have to think through his company’s good & not-so-good team members? What if all of their team members were talented and engaged – and loved serving customers? How would that impact their business?

My research and experience proves that employees who experience trust and respect from their bosses, colleagues, and company are more productive – 30-40% more productive – than those who do not experience trust and respect from their bosses, colleagues, and company.

Employees that are trusted and respected in their workplace also serve customers better and demonstrate greater commitment to their jobs. They are more likely to apply discretionary energy to solve problems, cooperate with peers, and implement tweaks to boost efficiency and results.

Leaders must be attuned to more than just performance. They must also be attuned to how customers are treated – and to how employees are treated, by leaders and peers.

When effective leaders learn about performance issues, they act. They engage with the player to clarify performance expectations. They learn how the player has been working in the system and redirect efforts to meet performance standards. They observe closely to ensure traction on desired results – and praise when the player exceeds performance standards.

When effective leaders learn about interaction issues – when they hear about rude, abrupt, or dismissive treatment of customers or employees by anyone – they act. They engage with the player to clarify values standards and interaction expectations. They learn how the player has been operating with customers and peers and redirect efforts to meet values standards. They observe closely to ensure traction on desired values in every interaction – and praise when the player exceeds values standards.

What do effective leaders do when coaching doesn’t solve performance problems? They find a place in the business where the player can genuinely contribute or they help that player find another job elsewhere.

What do effective leaders do when coaching doesn’t solve values issues? They don’t waste any time. They help that player find another job elsewhere.

How clear are values expectations in your team or company? What happens when your company tolerates poor treatment of employees or customers? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google +.

How healthy is your team or company’s culture? Don’t guess – get the data with my online Culture Effectiveness Assessment.

Want hands-on guidance for boosting productivity while reducing drama at work? Join me in Denver for my Culture Leadership Roundtable. This series, based on my book, The Culture Engine, meets one-morning-a-month starting in March.

Photo © Kurhan – Dollar Photo Club. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


Don’t miss any of Chris’ posts, podcasts, or updates – Subscribe Now!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Delightful Decluttering

PapierstapelMy storeroom was packed to the gills. My office closet was worse. It was time to clear some of my stuff out.

Today’s venture started with gathering and testing my old photo studio lights so my daughter-in-law can have an easier time taking pictures of products for her cool Etsy shop.

I’ve got a set of terrific soft-box, daylight studio lights that work beautifully. My old lights work fine and will serve her well.

Pulling out those cases required making room to get at those cases – then realizing the stuff blocking those cases was, well, more stuff.

I hadn’t touched a lot of that stuff in years. We’d moved this stuff across state lines multiple times – but I hadn’t referred to it or used it in a long, long time.

Clearing space in the storeroom prompted clearing books and materials from my office closet. Some of the storeroom stuff really belonged in my office closet. My wife needed more space in the storeroom. She helped pack boxes of college textbooks and course materials for the library, for the charity store, and for the dump. Her help made the work go quickly.

In two hours we got space cleared for her needs and for my needs – and we are donating things that others will benefit from immediately.

And, there’s much more stuff that needs to go. It’s plain to see that I keep stuff way beyond it’s potential value.

The problem with having all that stuff is that it requires energy to manage it. If I need something, I look through shelves of books and drawers of files. It slows me down – I have to stop writing (and creating) to sift through my stuff. Too often, I don’t find what I thought was going to be helpful. And, my train of thought, so strong just minutes before, is now derailed.

What clutter gets in the way of your clear thinking, clear creating, clear service, and clear contribution? Some clutter is literal – old files and books and boxes of stuff. Some clutter is figurative – but it disturbs our efforts just the same.

For example, do you rely on dusty, maybe even rusty knowledge or skills to get work done today? Have new, more efficient ways to contribute passed you by?

Do you rely on antiquated systems or processes to stay in touch with internal and external customers? Have new means to engage and connect with peers and customers not made an impression on you, yet?

Have you made assumptions about others’ skills or agendas that inhibit effective teaming and prompt resolution of issues?

In my work with leaders at all levels of organizations, I see this all the time.

If we’re not evolving, we’re eroding. Take the time regularly to clean the lenses, clear the clutter, and start a bit fresher than we were before.

What clutter gets in the way of your best work and your best self? Share your comments and insights on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google +.

How healthy is your team or company’s culture? Don’t guess – get the data with my online Culture Effectiveness Assessment.

Want hands-on guidance for building a safe, inspiring workplace? Join me in Denver for my Culture Leadership Roundtable. This one-morning-a-month series, based on my book, The Culture Engine, starts in March 2015 and ends in September.

Photo © hd-design – Dollar Photo Club. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


Don’t miss any of Chris’ posts, podcasts, or updates – Subscribe Now!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Behaviors Matter

ExploreLast week’s post shared the importance of clear values standards in business success. Values set the stage for workplace safety and inspiration.

However, setting values expectations alone doesn’t have much positive impact. What truly creates workplace trust, dignity, and respect is valued behaviors – values defined in observable, tangible, measurable terms.

Let’s look at performance management. Leaders have trouble inspiring teams to consistent performance without clear goals. Yet simply having clear goals doesn’t guarantee consistent high performance.

Effective leaders use a variety of performance-alignment behaviors – modeling, engaging, observing, monitoring, coaching, re-directing, celebrating progress, etc. – to ensure teams deliver on performance goals.

Managing desired values requires the same practices. Once values standards are clarified and defined in behavioral terms, effective leaders use a variety of values-alignment behaviors – modeling, engaging, observing, monitoring, coaching, re-directing, celebrating progress, etc. – to ensure teams deliver their goals in accordance with desired values.

In fact, once values standards and behaviors are published and communicated, scrutiny of valued behaviors increases, drastically. Leaders’ every plan, decision, and action are placed “under the magnifying glass” by other leaders and team members.

Is that scrutiny of valued behaviors fair? Certainly it is! Leaders are “changing the rules” when they add values standards to the mix. Humans don’t like change – even if they understand the rational reasoning behind the change!

Team members embrace change only 1) over time and 2) when they see their leaders and peers consistently embrace the new practices, right before their eyes, every day.

If team members can find examples of leaders’ behaving in ways that are inconsistent with the new valued behaviors, their resistance to the change grows stronger. They express their frustration with the new values “demands” because this or that happened, “which is clearly not aligned with the new values.”

Here’s an example from one of my culture clients. About six months into this client’s culture refinement efforts, the division president and three of his direct reports went to a conference. The president decided to take his wife on the trip – at his own expense – and spend a couple of days after the conference to enjoy a little down time with his spouse.

Within a week of their return, three supervisors told the president that some team members were complaining that the president took advantage of his position to have the company fund his wife’s trip . . . and that action didn’t align with the division’s new “integrity” value or behaviors.

The president was surprised at their concern but understood it. Within a week, he held a town hall meeting to address their concern, showing that he’d funded her expenses himself. He thanked people for raising the concern.

How did people learn of the president’s wife’s attendance on the trip? It was a natural result of the increased scrutiny. People talk and people make assumptions.

The message is clear. Leaders must not only define values in behavioral terms, but they must model them, communicate them, and celebrate them, daily.

Are your team’s values defined in behavioral terms? Share your comments and insights on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google +.

How healthy is your team or company’s culture? Don’t guess – get the data with my online Culture Effectiveness Assessment.

Want hands-on guidance for building a safe, inspiring workplace? Join me in Denver for my Culture Leadership Roundtable. This one-morning-a-month series, based on The Culture Engine, starts in March 2015 and ends in September.

Photo © olly – Dollar Photo Club. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


Don’t miss any of Chris’ posts, podcasts, or updates – Subscribe Now!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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