Statistics tell us that nearly 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail. And with a rate like that, it’s a wonder why so many people still give it a go! Historically, New Year’s resolutions are a Christian tradition. Other people think of the New Year as a fresh start, a flip of the calendar page. Whatever the motivation may be, lasting change begins with you.
Instead of concocting the latest, greatest New Year’s resolution, you should first take a look at who you are as a person and a leader. What values or guiding principles do you have? Do others pick up on those values in their interactions with you? Do you exude those values within your leadership team, among your team members, clients, and others? It’s one thing to write them down, and entirely another thing to follow through.
Therefore, when devising a leadership development program, it’s imperative that each employee understands the organization’s values. Then, those employees must determine whether they can truly live those values. An organization’s values should dictate how each team member acts and works. These values, along with an employee’s willingness to embody them, should be understood and assessed as early as the interview process.
Just like making a New Year’s resolution stems from a hopeful place, but can often fall short—understanding your company’s values requires some honesty and unvarnished assessment. There may be a gap between what you hope your company’s values may be and what you and your organization exemplify on a day-to-day basis. To pave the way for meaningful change, you’ll need to be clear and transparent about what your organization is all about. To do this, begin by considering a few key questions:
Why does your organization exist?
What contribution do you make to your community?
What are you most important non-financial objectives?
How would you describe your current core ideology?
Thoughtful, honest answers to the questions above may help you clarify your core values. Then, you’ll want to translate those values into guiding principles, which provide a more concrete framework for your fellow leaders and employees to live by. These shared principles create a constitution of sorts, and a constitution not only inspires, but also provides a code of conduct and a route by which to make decisions. Ideally, guiding principles will provide a baseline of behavioral and professional expectations, as well as an unwavering moral road map for your company as you grow.
Remember: These principles should be by design, not by default. Even the most inspired, enthusiastic New Year’s resolutions fail without proper planning, forethought, and expectations. To ensure the vision you have for your company is aligned with reality, be proactive in understanding your values, crafting your guiding principles, and leading others on the path toward lasting change.