Are you and your colleagues living up to your team’s core values?
Core values serve as a GPS to shape culture, drive better decisions, and sharpen best behaviors and attitudes.
Sadly, most don’t understand why they need core values at the team level, nor how to use these to move from average to high performance.
How do team core values differ from organizational core values? And how do you make your team’s values come alive?
I work primarily with leaders and their executive teams who are ready to either merge, realign, or grow. They know they need to improve the way they work together in order to tackle new vistas.
Part of the work I do is help the team create its own identity, establish a safe psychological space in which to work and play, and recognize its personal team power. These three factors are what go into creating a highly emotionally-intelligent team – one which outperforms others.
Without getting into the weeds in this article, part of the work we do together to accomplish this involves creating a team charter – a set of operating rules that the team creates together, and which are based on its core values. In other words, we define the attitudes, behaviors, and ways of doing that reflect the team’s values.
For example, if a team’s core values include honesty, the charter might define what honest conversation looks like, what honesty looks like in the face of conflict, etc.
Chartering your team’s core values in this way makes them come alive. It is powerful and serves as the foundation of your team culture.
What is important to remember as you develop active core values?
Here are five steps to keep in mind.
Develop your values with full team participation.
Every person on the team needs to be involved in the process of defining your values. This creates buy-in and ownership. Do you have someone who is reticent to participate or to speak up? Make sure you include them and let them know their weigh-in is important.
Hold a discussion with your team on what these values mean for you.
It is not enough to pick a word to represent each value – you collectively need to come up with a definition that reflects what you mean by that word choice. Craft together two or three sentences that expand on the value’s meaning until you feel it reflects clear definition to the team.
Identify attitudes and behaviors that support these values.
Take some time to talk about how you should relate to each other (and other teams) in light of your values. If one of your values is integrity, what kinds of attitudes and behaviors reflect this? What needs to change in order for you to fully embody each value?
Assess your systems, processes, and protocols to ensure these support your values.
Do a review of these to see if they support your values. What changes need to take place in order to have these align with your values? This is truly systematizing a team culture.
Accountability as a way to fully integrate your values.
How will you hold yourself and others accountable for the way you embody your charter? I suggest you define this, and then do a spot check-in at least once monthly. Be candid in rating the team – and if you are courageous, ask an external stakeholder to review your values, their definitions, and to share with you any gaps or growth opportunities they see in the way your team lives these.
Are you and your colleagues living up to your team values? Where do you need to start?
© Patti Cotton and patticotton.com. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express written permission from the author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that attribution is made to Patti Cotton and patticotton.com, with links thereto.
Patti Cotton helps executives optimize their effectiveness in leading self, others, and the enterprise. Her areas of focus include confidence, leadership style, executive presence, effective communication, succession planning, and masterful execution. With over 25 years of leadership experience, both stateside and abroad, Patti works with individuals, teams, and organizations across industries, providing executive consulting, leadership development, succession planning, change management, and conflict resolution. She is also an experienced Fortune 500 speaker. For more information on how Patti Cotton can help you and your organization, click here.