As part of a storytelling initiative, I’ve been conducting interviews with a representative sample of the client’s managers and employees at all levels and all locations spanning two states. The purpose of the interviews is to establish a benchmark for 1) employees’ familiarity with the core values, 2) their support of those core values as evidenced by their behavior as well as their expressed support, 3) their ability to tell the organization’s “umbrella” story, and 4) their ability to identify and tell stories that exemplify the company’s values. The findings will guide the storytelling training that will follow, with particular focus on identifying, crafting and telling values-based stories that will engage key audiences and stick in their minds.
I’ve been struck by the unusually high degree of consistency of their responses. The consistency is is particularly impressive when I ask them to name the top 3 or 4 values that drive day-to-day decisions. Most of the interviewees named the company’s four core values as those that drive daily decision-making.
Would you get the same result if you were to conduct a survey of your employees? In my experience most organizations wouldn’t. One strategy this company uses to ingrain the values into everyone’s minds could easily be adapted in any organization. The strategy is this: One of the four core values is the theme for one quarter each year. Meetings and other activities focus on the meaning of the value and how it should guide employees’ actions. In addition, budgets allow for managers’ discretion in planning special rewards, such as catered meals or field trips, for their teams or branch offices.
If you’re inspired to implement a similar program, let us know how it goes.