I often work with leaders of organizations that are on the cusp of growth. They’re in the “messy middle” of not being a startup any more but not yet having the structure they need for the next stage of growth.
A stage where leaders should be able to celebrate…but are really just overwhelmed.
- Details are demanding their attention – keeping them from getting to the vision work and people work that they know their organization needs.
- They go through their day with a nagging sense that they need to hire someone – a COO to handle HR and the internal details. Or a sales professional to increase revenue. Just someone to get some of the details off their plate.
- And a vocal group of team members are disgruntled because the organization isn’t “like it was” – it’s getting less spontaneous, less “friendly.”
The last part makes the other problems even worse. Because all the details that are keeping the leader from being with her team are done in trying to serve and protect her team!
Change is inevitable
One of the most important things for leaders to do during this stage is continually remind everyone what isn’t changing. Remind everyone, including yourself.One way to do this is by focusing on core values. Values are an important part of Quadrant 3 Leadership. They are an anchor, a stability point, in this storm.
If you haven’t yet, now is a great time to get clear on your values. What does your company stand for? What is it that gets you up in the morning? What are your nonnegotiables?
Write out your own list first. What do you think the organization stands for?
Then invite your leadership team, or all team members, to be part of the conversation. See what they feel are the core values.
Look for the three to five values that appear to resonate the most deeply with the organization. These are the ones to remind people about.
“Yes, we are changing the way things operate. But one thing that isn’t changing is our commitment to _______.”
(Quick, jot down the word or phrase that just popped into mind. That might be one of your core values!)
Back the values with real-life stories
How can you know if your organization really is committed to the values? You’ll be able to share stories to back each value up.
“We’re committed to ____. Remember when Alethea did that _____ with the _____ project? That is part of us that will never change.”
Without real-life stories, these “values” are no better than a list of words. Words with no meaning.
But anchoring them in stories makes them real. And makes them “sticky.” People might forget a list of words. But they’ll remember the story about Alethea.
And they’ll share that story with each other – further reinforcing the value’s place in your organization.
What are your core values?
Coming up with an initial list of values can be hard. So try using a Values Inventory can be a huge help. You can get a free one to print at https://concordleadershipgroup.com/values/. There’s another one at http://worksheet.findyourblacksheep.com/.
So what are your core values? Because changes are coming. Things won’t be like they were.
But somethings don’t change. And those values will act as a compass to guide you through this transition.