Recently, I spent some time with the president of a manufacturing company in St. Louis. I wasn’t there to solicit their business or coach them; I was there to learn from them. A client of mine in Memphis recommended that I get to know them, because my coaching of him seemed so similar to how they run their business. He suggested that we were of like mind, and it would worth getting to know this company’s president.
My client was right.
This company has a phenomenal culture that drives their continued success. They don’t need any help from me, but I learned so much from observing them.
There was one particular observation I made that I want to share.
The biggest learning moment for me came as I witnessed what I’m calling a “live the core-values hack.”
We were walking through the plant. I noticed it was very organized, very productive, and very engaged in lean process. The president stopped to talk to Davie, an new employee who had started three days earlier. Davie knew the president’s name. He was on top of what he was doing. Also, he was excited about his new job and his new company.
The president introduced me and asked Davie to explain why he was wearing an optic yellow vest. This was one of those vests that you see road crews wearing. I looked around and didn’t see anyone else wearing one, and this wasn’t a traffic intersection. I was intrigued.
The man in the bright yellow vest explained.
“I’m wearing this so that everyone can help me succeed as a new employee. The vest says to everyone that I’m new, and highlights to everyone else that I could use some help getting up to speed. Everyone has been so kind, introducing themselves to me, helping me, encouraging me, telling me ‘well done.’ It’s been great.”
What a great hack!
I see this as a type of hack that companies need to develop in order to communicate the core values and purpose of the company. In this case, the company has a overriding core value of “Enriching the lives of others in everything we do.”
The yellow vest made it easy for the team to live that core value with Davie. It surely enriched his life. You can bet he’ll return the favor when working with the next person wearing a yellow vest. I’m betting this company has many more practices that make living their culture easy for the team. I can’t wait to learn about them.
Before you go out and purchase a case of optic yellow vests, there’s important work to be done.
Get clear on your core values, purpose, and strengths. Communicate them clearly and often to everyone. Then ask your team, “how can we make it easier for you to live the core values?” I’m pretty sure that if you do this, you’ll come up with something that fits your situation. It’ll work as well as the optic yellow vest Davie was wearing.
Helping CEOs, owners, and entrepreneurs is what I do. We identify core purpose, core values, core customers, brand promise, and core strengths. Then, I use that information to design executable strategic plans that deliver and sustain growth.
Need me or know someone who does? Let’s talk.