It’s easy to fire up employee’s passion for change when your business is about to go up in flames. But how do you maintain people’s commitment to change when business is good? You know your company must constantly adapt if it wants to maintain its competitive edge. Yet without an obvious threat on the horizon, your employees may grow complacent.

So how do you build a workforce of relentless change agents? Lou Gerstner – CEO of IBM (1993-2002) advised that it is important for business leaders to take the following steps to create values-based management system:

  • Gather Employee’s Input on Values: Assess the strategic challenges facing your company. Purpose value you believe will help your firm meet those challenges. Collect employee’s feedback on your ideas.
  • Analyze Employees’ Input: Examine employees’ input for themes. Using feedback from top managers and employees, Palmisano’s team developed three working value statements – “Commitment to the customer,” “Excellence through innovations,” and “Integrity that earns trust.” IBM posted these on its intranet and invited employees to debate them. Over three days 50,000 debated the merits of the value statements. During the analysis, it was discovered that many IBMers criticized the “integrity that earns trust” statement as vague, outdated, and inwardly focused. They wanted more specific guidance on how to behave with each other and with external stakeholders.
  • Revise Your Value: Based on the themes in employees’ input, create a revised set of values. Gather employees’ input again.
  • Identify Obstacles to Living the Values: Examine employees’ responses to identify what’s preventing your company from living its agreed upon values.
  • Launch Change initiatives to remove obstacles: Initiate change programs that enable people to live the values.

Above all, one pivotal step taken by Gerstner at IBM is to replace command-and-control with values-based management. The concept explained that instead of galvanizing people through fear of failure, energize them through hope and aspiration. Inspire them to pursue a common purpose based on values that they contributed in helping to define for the company. As them what’s blocking them from living those values – and launch change initiative to remove obstacles.

As enduring companies like IBM have discovered, values-based management enables your people to respond quickly, flexibly, and creatively to a never-ending stream of strategic challenges.

Thank you for reading and stay safe.


Information by Lanre Yusuf


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