Sunday, March 15, 2009

Company "Values"..What does that really mean to employees?

In Today's time you will find many companies have "posted"or hanging on their walls some type of Mission statement, Vision statement, guidelines, or what many consider to be the Company "Values". These are often placed in the lobby, production floor or throughout the office areas and can be very decorative and impressive to visitors walking through. My question to many companies I work with is: What does this really mean to team members or employees? Has the company invested time explaining what this really means? How they should "act"or as the japanese may say "behave" on a daily basis to "live" these values? When I teach Lean Culture implementation within a company I express my concern for these "decorations" on the walls without explaining "WHY" its important. (Check out my previous blog posts).

I believe a company must give direction with their selected values and "put-to- life" those expectations. I tend to call them "Tangible Actions" to the values. These actions should be something an employee can understand and integrate into their daily activities. For example these bullet points below could be considered "Tangible Actions" to the Values.
  • Have a Customer First approach (looking from the eye of the customer).
  • Having a "Line of Sight" to the Company Indicators when problems are solved.
  • Taking Ownership and Responsibility to making a difference in the workplace.
  • Visualizing the company goals and status in work areas or the production floor sharing with employees the current situation.
  • Judge each situation finding the facts using the "Go and See" for yourself approach.
  • Never giving up - a commitment to complete the task/problem at hand
  • Using a complete and timely process when solving problems (with the Customer in mind)
  • Follow a good "thinking process" to solve problems (PDCA management steps)
  • Ensure there is Thorough Communication between all stakeholders within the company
  • Develop Standards within the company to easily see problems when they occur
These are just a few "tangible actions" that can assist in creating a strong culture within a company. So the next time you see the mission statement hanging in a company's lobby take a second to ask yourself what does that really mean?
Til next post
Tracey Richardson


  1. Tracey, absolutely on target. I, too, have seen the hundreds of mission statements and corporate values declarations adorning the walls of company lobbies and board rooms. And to what end, we must ask ourselves?

    It's all about the culture. If these missions and values are being lived (and you can tell pretty quickly)you know that this particular organization is fertile ground for successful (long-term, sustained) Lean. If not, well...

    Adam Zak