Creating Your Company’s DNA – No Silver Bullet
Recap of previous blog
In my last blog I listed the steps I took on how I came up with a set of Values for EDIStech. These values had to serve two purposes. Firstly they had to create for EDIStech, clear differentiators from our competitors and also, they must be able to stand the test of time. Not coming from the IT industry, I listed what I hated about IT companies and then set about creating a set of Values that would rid EDIStech of our shortcomings that appeared on my HATE list.
No Silver Bullet
Unfortunately, the process of inculcating a set of Values into a company has no Silver Bullet. It takes a huge amount of repetition, patience and rewarding behaviour that is in line with the Values we subscribe to.
After I had introduced the set of Values to the management team that I was certain would create an IT company far superior to our competitors, I introduced these to our employees at our staff meetings in a way that I felt would get “Buy In” from them.
I started by listing up on the white board, all the things that I hated about IT companies (see last week’s blog). I asked the staff to add any of their ideas to the list. I gave them the opportunity to disagree with the list. We then had a discussion on why these items were in the list and the effect on our clients if EDIStech were to behave in this way. We then had a discussion on what practices, if implemented, would eradicate this list from our behaviour.
The result was that the staff came up with the same set of Values as I had.
Training, Training and More Training!
For the next eighteen months at every staff meeting I discussed these Values. I looked for examples whereby our staff upheld these values during the week and praised them at our meetings. I also looked at examples of where we did not uphold the values (I started with my own short comings) and discussed the impact on the client and how we could improve.
Story Telling to Hit Home the Point
I also focussed our discussion on how our values translated to our clients. I taught our staff to look at our offering through our Clients’ eyes. I told lots and lots of stories about my own personal experiences in regards to how these values had affected me as a client. Story telling for a leader, I believe, is so important. People remember stories and the learnings are better remembered.
By George We Got It!!!
I will never forget the day that we completed a very large implementation for a new client (July 2017). They had engaged another EDI company who had let them down. EDIStech was given the job with only an 8 week window to complete the project. (Normal integrations of this size take 12 weeks+).
At the end of the project (completed in the 8 weeks) we asked the client for a testimonial. When I received it, I thought that my BDM had told the CFO what our values were, as the testimonial hit on every one of the 4 Values we had implemented. I rang the CFO and asked who assisted her with the testimonial. She stated that the testimonial was a culmination of the 8 people within her implementation team and no outside influences.
WOW!!! From that day on I knew we had finally GOT IT!!!!
This was the culmination of 18 months of repetition, training and story telling – No Silver Bullet
NB1: With new staff you have to start all over again with inculcating the values into them. It is also a good reminder for the rest of the team.
NB2: Our Values form part of our performance appraisals and also form part of our hiring process for new staff. The weighting of our hiring decisions are equal between technical and cultural fit to our values. This is really important to retain staff and reduce staff turnover.
NB3: After two years of me starting with EDIStech, our staff turnover went from 100% to 7%.
NB4: The list of our Values in Poster size is in our office and a smaller version is in our Board Room.
Join me next week as I discuss how we discovered our WHY
Ray Edward-Paul has been the General Manager of EDIStech since 2015. His leadership and strategic planning know-how has grown with experience in General Management, Regional Sales & Operations and senior Finance positions. And of course the nuances and insights gained working across sectors – from retail, manufacturing & importing, to the service realms of PR and now IT.