Businesses, like people, operate best when they’re governed by a set of values. That’s because values help employees understand the way in which they should conduct themselves and make decisions on behalf of the company.
For instance, at Kinetic, we’re guided by our ‘values onion’ which outlines all the qualities we embrace. It works rather like a personal code of conduct for us. We know that, as long as we’re acting in accordance with our values, we’re doing the best job we can at Kinetic.
Lately, we’ve been working with one of our larger clients to help get their staff facing in the same direction. Since implementing a values-based approach to their business they’ve started to see changes in the way people act and make decisions at work. Their most recent success following this change made a huge impact to their production output.
Before embracing company values they had been desperate to get things done ‘quick’. So, when a piece of equipment stopped working, engineers were brought in to recover it as quickly as possible; there often wasn’t time for them to perform the in-depth maintenance it required to make sure things were fixed properly. It meant, in the short-term, that production was able to continue, however, in the long-term, the machine’s optimum performance puttered out to a much slower pace.
It was by embracing the company’s new values that a manager felt confident enough to make an executive level decision – he shut down the machine for two days so that it could have a full servicing by the engineers. It was a risky move. There was no guarantee that the repairs could be completed within the allocated time or that they’d even make much of a difference to production. But the risk paid off and, within three days of the machine resuming its workload, it had more than made up for the two days it had lost.
By working to the company values (which state that employees should have a can-do attitude and be responsive) the manager and his team was able to make a big difference to the production levels of the company and, ultimately, the service they provide to their clients.