Motivational Posters Will Not Get You to Mars


Have you ever worked for an organization that had framed posters on their walls emblazoned with words like “Integrity” and “Motivation” and “Teamwork?” They have an inspiring stock photography to go along with the power word of choice, like an eagle soaring, a stunning beach sunrise, or a single drop falling into a body of water. Ahh yes, those posters.  
Or this…the picture of an employee on a plaque with the title “Employee of the Month” enshrined on the wall of a retail store or a quick serve restaurant. Have you ever asked yourself, what that employee did to achieve such a title, and wonder what it means to be “employee of the month?”
Well, I’d like to scrap both of those 2D concepts in favor of a more dimensional and a more meaningful idea. One that can actually be displayed and experienced. Before I tell you my idea, let’s talk about Core Values. 
Now before you dismiss this as fluffy words on a wall, I want to reframe how you think about Core Values. These are not aspirational words, like “motivate” and “excellence”. Core Values are a handful of rules that remain constant, a way of being or believing, that your company has in place and lives by every day. These are not concepts that can be “trained” into an employee. They either have similar values or they don’t. It’s really that simple.
Core Values are an integral part of your company’s DNA. And here are 3 questions that will test whether you have chosen the right ones:

  • Are you hiring based on your core values?  
  • Conversely, are you willing to fire someone for violating a core value?
  • Is the company willing to take a financial loss to hold true to a core value?  

Prepare for a Mission to Mars
Here’s another way to uncover what your company’s core values might be. Pretend that you have been asked to provide team members from your company to go to Mars and be observed by the Martian culture. The Martians want to observe behaviors that illustrate your company’s culture. The catch? Your employee can’t communicate verbally with the martians, it’s all dependent on his or her behaviors. 

  • Who on our team would you send and why? 
  • Who illustrates one or more of your core values?  
  • What behaviors will the Martians associate with your company?

Do you see how the right words used to frame the company’s core values will influence the culture and the experience of employees, vendors and customers? Core Values can make or break your mission.
So…back to those plaques and posters I referred to earlier. Instead of vague power-words on posters and plaques with employee names, why not put up poster-sized pictures of your employees in action of living out your core values? Think about how powerful that would be to other employees, to your leadership team, to your customers. Much more powerful than a poster emblazoned with the word “Excellence”, actions speak louder than words.
No Core Values? Or do you need to revisit them? Then I invite you to use this link to sign up to receive a helpful worksheet and get access to a 5 minute tutorial. There’s no better time to discover if your team’s culture is mission ready for Mars and this new world of business.

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