Activating Core Values to Deepen Company Culture

A global strategy and information giant had done exceptional work building core values to reflect who they are, and what they stand for.

One division was failing to leverage that work by activating the values in day-to-day workplace behavior. How to make the values “stick” in all interactions and decisions? How to re-enforce the values and take advantage of the high-quality work that went into creating them?

Not surprisingly, an unacceptable volume of HR/ethics complaints against senior leaders indicated unclear messaging about the right way to succeed internally, and in a global marketplace. The values were meant to guide in these critical, human moments.

Our solution:

  • Instead of culture change, we offered culture immersion, focusing on how to translate the Core Values into behaviors, creating a deep, robust commitment to the firm’s existing aspirational image.
  • Executives translated the values into behaviors that were specific to jobs in that division; further, they committed to demonstrating the values impeccably in their own behavior.
  • Changing Management created a long-term experiential curriculum to teach and practice the behaviors, launching a tour of the top 14 global offices to deliver modular workshops.
  • Upon COVID lockdown, pivoted to virtual delivery to 2,000 executives, managers and teams.
  • Solidified successful adoption of behaviors through management application groups, dedicated to ensuring the behaviors were active and resilient over time.

The Results:

2,000 employees renewed their understanding of the Core Values and explored methods for linking them to their daily activities with clients and peers.

Further team-based work improved team morale through more vulnerability-based trust, productive conflict.

Created stronger manager-team relationships as the teams learned and applied the learnings together in ways that were custom-built for each team.

Material improvement in the employee survey and concurrent reduction in HR complaints regarding ethics violations and counter-culture infractions.

Note: the arrival of COVID-19 radically complicated our original delivery plans but deepened the relevance of the program.  The behaviors we were cultivating became even more critical in a virtual workplace.  Suddenly thrust into an environment we had never imagined, those who had built the muscles of empathy, trust, collaboration, and conflict resolution had a more successful remote experience and an easier transition to the eventual hybrid workplace.