I have spent the last year reshaping our executive leadership team at Tigerpaw. Not a day goes by where we aren’t discussing leadership, culture, and the myriad things that go into building a great organization; people are always a central thread in these discussions.
When we were smaller, we primarily hired individuals based on the skills they brought to the table – could they get the job done? As we grew, we realized that skills alone aren’t enough – job performance simply was not enough. As our new leadership team began to implement a shared vision, we found ourselves terminating some employees, “right-sizing” others to more suitable roles, and (most excitingly), hiring new team members. Throughout this process, many questions arose – why was this person not a fit for their current role? Why was this person viewed as a good employee for some time, but no longer a fit for the organization? What qualities should we be looking for in new candidates?
As a result of this questioning and reflecting, we identified the key values exhibited by our best employees. This list became Tigerpaw’s Five Core Values. They are:
PASSION – Perform our roles with purpose, pride, and a positive attitude.
PERFORMANCE – Strive for excellence in all we do.
TEAMWORK – Drive successes through strong collaboration and communication.
INTEGRITY – Uphold our ethics and principles with every action and every decision.
ADAPTABILITY – Be flexible and embrace change.
We’ve found that the best employees excel in all five of these core values. A person might slip in a few items over time, but that’s what Personal Improvement Programs are for: to get employees back on the right track. There is one item that is non-negotiable, however: INTEGRITY. If you botch that, you’re gone.
Really, what we’re talking about is culture. Culture can make or break a company, and a great culture NEVER happens by accident. By aligning all employees with our Five Core Values, the Tigerpaw culture gets stronger and stronger, with free-flowing information, collaboration, accountability, and a spirit of excellence.
These core values are so important to us that we talk about them in company huddles and in hallway conversations. Every employee was given a card (much like a business card) that has the Five Core Values and their descriptions, to carry with them at all times. Core values need to be promoted – and lived – from the top down. I have one taped to my office door AND one taped to a monitor on my desk. In fact, every new employee that comes to work for us gets personal time with me, where I share the company vision, explain how they fit in the overall picture, and discuss our core values. We want the new employee to know exactly what’s expected of them, and what they can expect of their team members in return.
Remember, great culture doesn’t happen by accident. If you want excellence, you need to create an atmosphere of excellence. If you haven’t defined your core values, I encourage you to think about the five core values that you treasure, and that are critical to your success. Name them, define them, share them, and live them!
About the Author: James Foxall is President of Tigerpaw Software, an author of over 14 books, an international speaker, and a proud graduate of Bellevue University’s Master in Business Administration program. James is dedicated to helping people become better leaders, and to helping business owners create better businesses through leadership and technology. James’ personal mission is to embrace the journey of self-discovery, live with purpose, and share with passion and humility. You can read his personal blog at www.jamesfoxall.com.