Getting better at getting better is what Rise With Drew is all about.

Monday through Thursday, we explore ideas from authors, thought leaders, and exemplary organizations. On Friday, I share something about myself or what we are working on at PCI.

What is the #1 strategy to create a great place to work?  

Articulate the organization’s values and then do our very best to live by those values.

One question that comes up is: Should our core values ever change?

The answer? Yes, but not very often.

At PCI, we first articulated our values back in 1997. A group of us had just read Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, in which the authors analyzed a group of genuinely visionary companies. One of the key things these organizations had in common was a set of core values specific to their organization.  

To create core values, Jim and Jerry suggest identifying the members of the company who are the most admired and looked up to. Then, document what it was about each person that made them outstanding. Finally, look for what they all shared in common. These attributes become the basis for the organization’s core values.

So, that’s what we did.

Our first draft listed ten values. After about a year, we decided to reduce the list to seven values.  

Then, we didn’t touch our values for almost twenty years.

In 2016, we acquired our biggest competitor and added a significant number of new associates to our team. With so many new team members aboard, the time seemed right to take a look at our values.  

At that time, we were fortunate to be working with Maureen (Mo) Underwood [hyperlink], who had served as Executive VP of People at TD Industries for more than a decade. TD was a company we admired and had learned so much from. In fact, it was from TD Industries that we first learned about servant leadership [hyperlink], which became our leadership philosophy at PCI and fundamentally changed the direction of our company.

Mo shared with us the process through which TD had re-examined its values which became the blueprint for what we did.  

We started by holding working sessions with all 400 of our associates. We had everyone journal their answers to two questions:

Question one: Of our seven values, which three values must NOT change? We wanted them to tell us: “It’s fine if you modify or edit these values. But you better not touch these three!”  

Question two: Is there anything missing from our list of seven values? Is there anything specific to PCI, our associates, or how we conduct business that should be added?

Once the journaling was complete, we organized everyone into groups of 8-10 associates and had them discuss their answers. We asked each table to agree upon their collective responses to the questions, which they then reported out. All of this input was captured on big post-it notes around the room.

The next step was compiling all the input, feedback, and suggestions and identifying commonalities across all the different groups.  

Then, our CEO Council met and discussed the findings. There was more discussion, and finally, decisions were made. Together, we decided to move from seven values to five values.

Once we had our agreed-upon, revised list of five values, we then started a process to provide more definition for each value. More about that process next Friday!

More next week. I hope you have a GREAT weekend!  


Reflection: When was the last time my organization looked at our core values?  

Action: Discuss with my team or with a colleague.

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