Values in Action

How do leaders establish and sustain a culture of high engagement? In a word, values.

In the 1990's, I was with a small but rapidly growing telecom company. The CEO had started the company in the 1980's after the breakup of Ma Bell. The company was truly "his baby." He cared about every detail and was passionately engaged.

His total engagement was translated to every employee and every new hire in various ways, chief of which was the company's values:

- have an entrepreneurial attitude and act like you own the business

- be continuously close to your client so that you are in touch with their needs and can provide solutions

- work collaboratively with others across functions

- take the initiative; don't wait; just do it

- have an "open door" (for open communication), an open mind (for new ideas), and an open book (share the financials and build financial acumen in all employees)

- never rest on your laurels; always look for a better way; always improve

Taken together, these values reflected the CEO as a person, totally engaged with his company.

These values --lived, demonstrated, shared and spread to others-- helped the company flourish.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, June 16, 2008

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