Tag Archives: core values

Corporate Culture Mindset (Infographic)

Corporate Culture Mindset
Source: with thanks to mcnakblog.com

ViRTUS Leadership Minute: Setting Goals for 2011

Core Values Worksheet

Road to Respect: Path to Profit by Erica Pinsky

It is no secret that the world we work in has changed dramatically in the last few decades – the way we work, the type of people we want to work with and the type of work culture that drives positive results.

With all of these changes, Erica Pinsky points out in her book Road to Respect: Path to Profit that the one thing that hasn’t changed is that employers still hold the ultimate power in the workplace; with that power comes an even greater responsibility to build a culture based on respect as the key to sustainable profitability. Studies show that money is not the main factor keeping employees in a job any more; people stay because of workplace culture and relationships.  Therefore, with the shifting demographic and opportunities available in the new millennium it is imperative that organizations are aware of the dramatic effect their workplace culture has on the bottom line.

Through case studies and stories about what the top Employers of Choice are doing right, Pinsky encourages us to evaluate the current state of our work environment and empowers leaders to be proactive in building the kind of respectful work culture where the link between culture, job performance and profit is appreciated.  The Road-to-Respect: Path to Profit offers key insights and calls to action that change the way we view respect in the workplace.

Part 1 takes us through what respect is and what it looks like as a core competency in the workplace.  Part 2 dives into how to create a value-based culture where respect is one of the most important core values.  Pairing examples of how some of the most well-respected and successful organizations in Canada are doing this with impressive statistics, we are shown how things like embracing diversity, aligning people and processes with core values, having respectful collective leadership and promoting coaching throughout the organization can transform an organization into an Employer of Choice that attracts and retains the top talent. Part 3 is where the course is really charted. While every organization will find its own path, Pinsky, provides tools on how to assess and evaluate respect in your current culture starting with questioning and information gathering as the foundation.

This easy to read book paints a clear and vivid picture of what the many facets of respect looks like in a thriving organization.  Through numerous ‘respectful practices’ we are not just told, but shown how to move toward a culture where respect is a living a core value and success and profitability are the outcomes.  It is the “roadmap” to respect and path to profit.

Definitely worth the read.

BIV Boardroom Strategy: Beliefs and behaviours drive corporate success and failure

[read time: 4 mins]

Hidden within the fabric of your organization lies a set of beliefs, behaviours and values that form the basis of your culture. Although values rarely need to be changed, if you are interested in shifting towards a culture where successful execution of your strategic plan is the norm, the beliefs and behaviours that are getting in the way of action and accountability do need to change.

Since behaviours are essentially beliefs turn into action, shifting the culture of your organization starts first with uncovering and challenging the assumptions that drive the beliefs and behaviours that are inconsistent with action and accountability and then ensuring that rewards (and I’m using rewards in the liberal sense of the word to include both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards – praise, raise, bonuses, promotion, etc.) are linked to specific performance.

Here are five questions that senior teams can ask themselves to start to uncover the hidden truths in your business to build a culture of getting things done:

What one behaviour do we, as the senior team, need to start modeling that will dramatically improve the behaviour of everyone else in the company? Few people look down the organizational chart for cues to model their behaviour as a leader; most everyone looks up or side-to-side. Behavioural change within an organization is most successful when it starts at the top. Don’t underestimate the impact that even the smallest change in leadership behaviour can make on your entire organization.

What company-wide assumptions and beliefs have shaped what our organization looks like today? Shared beliefs are a large part of making sure everyone is on the same page, aligned, and moving in the same direction. The trouble comes when we fail to stop every once and a while to examine whether or not these beliefs are still true. Take a long hard look at what you may be doing on a regular basis simply because that’s the way “we’ve always done it”. Challenging assumptions that run so deep that they have become the core beliefs that underpin how you run your business day to day will likely uncover some hidden truths that are actually roadblocks to growth.

What do we need to start believing, in order to guide the desired behaviours going forward? What do you need to start believing about your business in order to keep moving in the right direction? These new beliefs will shape the attitude and behaviours that will be adopted by the senior team, and trickled down through organization, to guide a new culture of getting things done.

How can we link performance to rewards? The foundation of changing behaviour is linking rewards to performance, and making the links transparent. This tells people what’s valued, and what they should focus on. If you reward and promote people for execution, your culture will change.

What kind of people are we looking for? Have ever you noticed that when you have a critical, time sensitive, core objective that you need to delegate, there are a few people in your organization that you turn to every time? Take note of what it is about those few key people – the people that get things done – and make sure you include their core attributes and strengths in your hiring criteria.

There is no better time than right now to take an honest look at what’s really happening in your company. Understanding how unchallenged assumptions and shared beliefs are contributing to the behaviours that are holding your company back from really getting things done is the first step in creating a culture that sees consistent growth and achievement.

BIV Boardroom Strategy – Beliefs and Behaviours – August 2010

BIV Boardroom Strategy: Corporate culture is critical to implementing business strategy

BIV Boardroom Strategy, Dec 15-21, 2009 – Corporate culture is critical to implementing business strategy

[read time: 3 minutes]

As you start to develop your business strategy for the new year, look at all of the factors that can support it, one of which you might not have linked directly to your strategic initiatives in past years: your company culture.

Strategy and culture both affect a company’s bottom line. While a strong culture can’t replace or act in lieu of a strong strategy, there are several ways that you can leverage your culture to support and drive strategic initiatives.

Here are nine ways you can leverage corporate culture to drive strategy.

Employee engagement

Engaged employees have higher commitment levels. They’re willing to go the extra mile, are consistent performers and are more likely to buy in and commit to the strategy and long-term goals of the company. Improve engagement to achieve your strategic initiatives by ensuring that you’re providing employees a direct line of sight to how their work contributes to the company’s growth.


This is a key factor in the successful execution of strategy. The critical first step in leveraging a culture of accountability: translate strategic initiatives into objectives and actions, make sure all your staff members know what’s expected of them and hold their feet to the fire from the word go. Being able to hold others accountable is tougher than it sounds, especially since the first step is to lead by example: do what you say you were going to do, when you said you would do it.

Values, vision and mission

We all know that our company values, vision and mission are only as valuable as they are easy to understand, remember and repeat. Spend some time ensuring that leaders not only know the values, vision and mission of the company, but that they understand what they mean and how they connect with strategy. Here’s a great way to leverage a strong vision and mission: start looking for, talking about and rewarding real examples of employees living out the vision and mission.

Performance management and rewards

Your strategic plan for the year is full of initiatives and actions designed to take you where you need to go. What gets measured gets done, so use current performance-management practices to influence how corporate business objectives get translated into action across departments or business and involve each department in creating performance measures to generate buy-in and increase accountability and success.

Physical space

We don’t often consider how things like office space contribute to the bottom line, but it could be worth your while to note how your physical environment supports or contradicts your strategy. Does your office space reflect the innovative, forward-thinking ideas represented in your plan? Does your plan encourage or even require a flattened organizational structure, when all of your upper-level executives, including the CEO, have offices on the same floor, away from all others? Examine how you can rework your physical space to encourage successful execution of your strategy.

Decisions and authority

How easy is it for employees to navigate the levels of official and unofficial power in your organization. Are the people responsible for doing the work empowered with decision-making authority? Do the unspoken behavioural norms make it difficult to get things done or approved before the “by when” dates? Increase the chances of achieving objectives on time by aligning lines of authority with strategic initiatives.


With every culture there is a counter-culture – a group within the organization that opposes or is critical of the organization’s norms and values. Be aware of these counter-cultures and leverage them by allowing them a voice that holds you to a higher standard of performance. Learn the lesson from Toyota and reward employees who find problems, announce them to everyone and work toward a solution that works consistently.


When it comes to buying into strategic direction, employees will always look to their managers to lead by example. Leverage this opportunity by acting with discipline and following through on your commitments. Take performance management seriously, hold others accountable and make sure you’re focusing on the priorities you and your teams have agreed on.


The way we think we should communicate and the way we actually communicate are key to your company’s culture. Leverage the communication norms of your culture by using the mediums that people really respond to. Make sure the emphasis is on the actions expected from what’s being communicated. Clarify goals and provide consistent updates on outcomes.

The best strategy without the right cultural platform to executive upon it is simply an intellectual exercise. If you’re the CEO of a large company you’re probably far away from the reality of the culture of your business. Start by asking your frontline staff, “What is the culture of our business?” And then work your way back up the hierarchy. •

Mike Desjardins is the driver (CEO) at ViRTUS (www.virtusinc.com), an organizational development consulting firm with expertise in strategic planning and implementation, leadership development, change management and succession planning for medium to large organizations. He regularly blogs at http://www.mikedesjardins.com. This column was co-written by Shannon Lawder, a certified coach and the content director at ViRTUS.

This article from Business in Vancouver December 15-21, 2009; issue 1051

What I wish I’d known when I was a teenager.


Here is the Core Values experience I speak about in the first part of the video.

Figuring out your core values

One of the challenges to goal planning is understanding how your goals will affect the quality of your life. Many people (including me in the past) set goals that led to outcomes they don’t want. By planning your goals around your core values you set yourself up to create the life you want while you achieve your goals.

The best online goal tracking website I know of is Lifetick.com. It’s focused on values before goals, and goals before actions. The challenge is that if you don’t know what your core values are you can get stuck at the first step.

Focusing on personal and business core values has always been a critical part of our ViRTUS Exchange experience. For our Exchange Members we created a competency that will allow them to figure out their personal core values. At a speech I gave the other day at UBC I promised I would share  the core values worksheet with step-by-step instructions. Here it is: Core Values Experience PDF Download.