This week we begin a new, seven-part series on core values. In previous blog posts, I’ve written about the importance of core values to guide work internally and externally, but over the past nine years, I’ve held back on sharing the values of Group Dynamic. Now I’m setting them free. This week is an introduction, and then for the next six weeks, I’ll take you on a tour of our core values and how we use them both internally and externally to guide employee performance and interactions with those we serve.
The Origin Story of Group Dynamic’s Values
Three influences led to the development of our values. Here they are, in order.
What makes us different?
Every business needs to answer this question at some point. No one succeeds over the long haul by saying, “Let’s be bland. Let’s be like everyone else.” Eventually, potential customers, clients, or followers choose a path, and they look for what’s different. After being asked what makes my approach to training unique, I came up with three differentiators:
- I’m planned, not scripted; I stay flexible in the middle of a session, if needed, to do what’s needed now.
- My content is actionable; it’s a careful blend of theory with practical results. This is more dangerous than you think, because focus on practical results can lead to short-term thinking, and an over-reliance on theory can keep people from doing what actually works.
- My delivery is purposefully engaging—with stories, organic humor, and energy—but without being obnoxious. There are some who would argue that I’m still a bit much, I’m sure.
For a while, I lived by those three values—flexible, actionable, and engaging—but then The Disney Institute pushed me further.
What qualities do you look for in an employee?
This question confronts every participant in the Disney Institute Business Excellence course. I was fortunate to attend this session at about the time I was thinking of adding my first employee, and we did a mind map exercise to help us narrow down our thinking to five basic qualities. I worked to turn those three qualities—flexibility, action-oriented, and engaging—into employee standards. That took me to accountability, communication, service, quality, and growth. These served as employee qualities, as well as values.
But this wasn’t enough, as I learned when I read The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni.
Are your values unique or table-stakes?
The Advantage pushed me to realize that some values are held in common by everyone in their industry, and so they’re not unique enough to be helpful and instructive. For example, everyone who does what I do had better be good at communication, since we train on it. And I had better be good at service, because I preach and train servant leadership. These values weren’t enough and needed to be expanded so they can be unique. And that push led to these values:
- We are accountable, responsive, and timely.
- We obsessively over-communicate.
- We exceed service expectations.
- We execute work of the highest quality.
- We are committed to continuous improvement.
Since then, we’ve tweaked them to answer the questions “What do we expect out of each other as employees/team members?” And “What can our customers/clients expect from us?”
Answers to those questions come in the next five posts.
But here’s some homework for you –
- What differentiates you?
- Based on that, what qualities do you expect from the people who work for or with you?
- What can you do with those qualities to make them unique to your organization?
- What behaviors exemplify those qualities?
This is the first post in a 6-part series discussing the importance of having core values and what core values we at Group Dynamic hold to. Follow along as we explore the internal and extrernal impact of personal and corporate core values.