Fierce or flowery: how do you define a value based leadership culture? @helenbevan @Medici_Manager

By Mark Fernandes July 22nd, 2013 http://bit.ly/16RfQ1l

It’s been about a year now since we lost several of our leaders due to random acts of misaligned values. Thinking back, I remember waking up one morning in the midst of all the difficult conversations and posting the following on Twitter:

“Contrary to popular opinion Values Based Leadership cultures are very fierce, especially when the values are more than just words on the wall.”

In the days that followed, there was nothing flowery about the state of the enterprise as the difficult conversations continued and communications became paramount. And each year that goes by in our values journey we realize more and more that Values Based Leadership cultures are anything but “hugs and roses” as many would define them.

As a point of clarity, it’s not the rare events that end in the loss of an associate that best represent our culture. It is instead the day-to-day “fierce,” feedback rich, developmental conversations that define us at our best. Especially when these actions and behaviors are underpinned by authentic relationships and balanced with a higher frequency of recognition for a job well done. And while none of us wake up in the morning hoping for a day full of fierce conversations, in an organization that aspires to have a feedback rich culture, few go by where an opportunity does not present itself.

For me, this past Friday was one of those days. I was scheduled for a routine catch-up with one of our leaders and just prior to the meeting evidence was surfacing that we may have, in our terms, the need for a “values clean up on aisle 7.” And sure enough, we did in fact have a bit of a mess on our hands. The good news is after asking the leader just a few questions, the issue became obvious and he quickly accepted responsibility for the situation. The better news is before I even got back to the office, a call was made and an apology offered. The best news is the young associate on the receiving end of the apology was beyond inspired by the call she received. A point to note is that the leader is actually one of our officers. So what went right?

    • We are very intentional about cultivating a feedback rich culture that asks us to be thoughtful when giving and gracious when receiving feedback.
    • One of our four core values is leadership, which includes a behavior that asks us to “initiate transparent and fierce conversations.”
    • We obsess about our relationships up and down the organization as a means of “soil prep” in the event a difficult conversation is necessary. It’s about trust and communication.
    • One of our core Values Based Leadership competencies is character strength, which includes an attribute of “taking action.”
    • We recognize and reward actions and behaviors that align with our company values and Values Based Leadership competencies.

At Luck Companies we do believe Values Based Leadership cultures are extraordinarily fierce. As such, we have built a system around our company values and Values Based Leadership competencies that ensure our associates are up for the challenge. And what about you? Is your organization fierce, feedback rich, and developmental to the extent that is required to navigate the current (and foreseeable future) “fierce” business climate? Or are you settling for flowery, where realities are not interrogated and much needed conversations are left unsaid?

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