Whenever I look at companies, (I’m in the business of building better companies for the future), I like to look at their values.
Values are a key component of culture.
And culture is one of the 5 elements of organizational architecture.
So whether you are designing a business or trying to build a high-performance culture, the key is to focus on shaping the values.
Values are kind of like the future in that some people try to predict them, while others try to create them.
True leaders create values by living their values–They be the change they want to see in their world.
Values are What You Do, Not What You Say
To find the values, look to what’s rewarded and punished.
That’s how you find the unspoken writing that is on the wall.
It’s also how you don’t get surprised when the behaviors don’t match the rhetoric.
It’s easy to talk a good talk, but it’s much tougher to walk the talk.
Company Values of Modern High-Performance Companies
I thought it would be an interesting exercise to walk the company values of some fairly well known companies.
In fact, you might say these are some of the top mover and shakers in the world.
Let’s see how a few high-performance companies talk their values …
Amazon’s values according to Amazon’s job site:
- Customer Obsession. Leaders start with the customer and work backwards…
- Ownership. Leaders are owners. …
- Invent and Simplify. …
- Are Right, A Lot. …
- Learn and Be Curious. …
- Hire and Develop the Best. …
- Insist on the Highest Standards. …
- Think Big.
- Bias for Action
- Earn Trust
- Dive Deep
- Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit
- Deliver Results
Apple’s values according to Tim Cook’s email:
- We believe that we’re on the face of the Earth to make great products.
- We believe in the simple, not the complex.
- We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products we make.
- We participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution.
- We believe in saying no to thousands of projects so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us.
- We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot.
- We don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change.
Inclusion & Diversity (Apple on Inclusion & Diversity)
“The most innovative company must also be the most diverse.
At Apple, we take a holistic view of diversity that looks beyond the usual measurements. A view that includes the varied perspectives of our employees as well as app developers, suppliers, and anyone who aspires to a future in tech. Because we know new ideas come from diverse ways of seeing things.”
Facebook’s values according to Facebook:
- Be Bold
- Focus on Impact
- Move Fast
- Be Open
- Build Social Values
Google’s values according to AskStudent.com:
- We want to work with great people
- Technology innovation is our lifeblood
- Be actively involved; you are Google
- Don’t take success for granted
- Do the right thing; don’t be evil
- Earn customer trust and user loyalty and respect every day
- Sustainable long-term growth and profitability are key to our success
- Google cares about and supports the communities where we work and live
Google’s values according to Techonomy.com:
- Put the user first.
- Speed is a virtue.
- Set audacious goals.
- Overweight the future.
- Embrace failure to break boundaries.
- Be uncompromising about people.
LinkedIn values according to the Conscious Culture Group:
- Members first.
- Relationships matter.
- Be open, honest and constructive.
- Demand excellence.
- Take intelligent risks.
- Act like an owner.
Microsoft company values according to Microsoft.com:
- Diversity and Inclusion
- Corporate social responsibility
- Trustworthy Computing
Uber company values according to Quora:
- always be hustlin’
- let builders build
- meritocracy and toe-stepping
- principled confrontation
- making bold bets
- celebrate cities
- make magic
- inside out
- optimistic leadership
- being yourself
- own don’t rent
- champion’s mind set
- obsession with the customer
The Culture Fit Challenge
If you know people from these companies, you can see how they are living their company values or not.
Notice any interesting patterns or insight when you scan across?
Do you see how some values might conflict with or light up your own?
One of the most important pieces of career advice from Michael Watkins is that you should figure out whether you are a culture fit for an organization.
He said you can deal with conflicts in style, but conflicts in values are tough.
You most likely need to change your container—so you can find your arena for your best results.
Values Help you Find Your Way Forward
On a personal note, what’s interesting to me is how you can use values to figure out which companies to work for.
We spend a lot of time at work. It’s not just work.
It’s how you create value for those you serve and it’s your platform for how you put your dent in the universe.
Long ago I joined Microsoft because to me, Microsoft was all about empowerment.
To me, Microsoft was the ultimate dojo of personal growth where Softies banded together to change the world.
With Satya at the helm, that vibe is back.
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