“Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life.”— Ralph Waldo Emerson
How many minutes do we waste each day doing frivolous or time wasting activities. Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram, video games, television, email, instant messaging . . . unfocused use of all these things can be a huge waste of time! Time is the only resource that we get to use that we cannot buy more of and is truly unrenewable. Once time has passed, it is gone forever!
As a business leader, I have found that it is way too easy to get distracted by frivolous issues as well as the many business related concerns that come up during the day. Whether it is an impromptu meeting, an extended meeting, a critical email or instant messages, “emergency” phone calls, document signings or last minute sales calls, there is always something that can take my eye off the ball.
A few weeks ago in the blog post “What Does Your Organization Value?” I wrote about what organizational values are and why they are important. I explained that the leaders of an organization must not just communicate organizational values but they must also model the values that they are communicating.
If they model something other than what they are communicating, their staff will pick up on it immediately. Employees emulate the values that their leaders are modeling, not necessarily what they are stating. Hence the Ralph Waldo Emerson statement “Your actions speak so loudly I cannot hear what you say.”
In the article, I suggested that leaders conduct a poll of their employees to find out what the employees perceive as the organizational values. I believe that this is an extremely important exercise that an organizations’ leaders should do every few years.
So, how should you go about this in your organization?
In the 2014 summer version of Strategy + Business magazine, there was an article entitled “10 Principles of Leading Change Management.” This article ties nicely into one of my previous blog posts “The Protean Corporation” that was focused on what corporations need to do to deal with the continuous and explosive change that they are faced with everyday. That blog post was focused on the organizational structure and culture required for our changing environment while this post is focused on rolling out change within the organization itself.
The 10 guiding principles for change as described in the article are summarized below (with some of my commentary added);
1) Lead with the culture – when building your strategy for rolling out the change, take into account your organizations vision, mission, values and overall culture. Does the change align with the vision, mission, values and culture? How can you structure or position the change to leverage these things and make it easier for the organization to accept and embrace the change?
Over the past month or so, my blog posts have dealt with organizational vision and mission. In the Vision post I defined organizational vision as “a picture of the future which creates an ideal and unique image of what the organization will become and/or the impact it will make.”. In the Mission post I defined organizational mission as “a definition of where you are going and what your organization is doing right now to attain the vision.”
So, what are organizational values and how do they fit in with vision and mission?
Organizational values are the bedrock of an organization. They are the foundation on which the organization is built. They describe the individual and corporate behaviors that will get the organization from where it is now, to achieving the mission and living the vision. Values are the driving forces that will lead your organization to success. A few examples of organizational values are;