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You're Not Done With Organizational Values

Updated: Nov 23, 2019

Had you walked into the New York offices of Enron in early 2001 you would have seen the organization’s corporate values prominently displayed on the wall in a marble edifice:

  • Respect

  • Integrity

  • Communication, and

  • Excellence

You may have been impressed with the prominence Enron gave to these guiding principles. You may even have invested heavily in this highly successful, rapidly growing company.


And by October of that year you’d have realized that no one had paid any attention to the values except the deceived public and investors. As 17 leaders were eventually convicted of intentionally mis-stating the balance sheets in order to mislead the company’s board of directors and the public.


The values these individuals had determined should guide their actions were staring these individuals in the face every day as they entered the building, the word ‘integrity’ topping the list - literally carved in stone as they set about defrauding investors and enriching themselves.

Enron failed to live up to their values...


However, when we align our company values with our daily activities it pays great dividends … the opposite of Enron.


Employees get inspired when they align the work they do everyday with a larger purpose.

They are more likely to succeed when they are assured they are relevant and are making a difference to advance the organizations they serve.


“Connect the dots between individual roles and the goals of the organization. When people see that connection, they get a lot of energy out of work. They feel the importance, dignity and meaning in their job.”

Ken & Scott Blanchard


A recent study from Korn Ferry showed that companies with teams focused on their organization’s purpose had annual growth rates nearly three times the annual rate for their entire industry. [1]


According to the survey, 90% of people who worked in a purpose-driven organization reported feeling engaged in their work. In companies that aren’t as focused on purpose, only 32% of employees reported feelings of engagement and connectedness with the work they were doing.[2]


One key finding that we have learned from research:


Leaders with purpose are more likely to succeed.


Studies find that individuals like Chouinard and Gage, who are aware of and deeply connected to the why behind their work, tend to be effective leaders who are likely to be satisfied with their careers and their lives outside of work.



As purpose-driven leaders, they are likely to inspire purpose-driven employees. A study by Joyce Bono and Timothy Judge found that when leaders are connected to a personally meaningful purpose, employees are more likely to connect to a higher purpose as well, and this is significant because as Brent D. Rosso and colleagues note, employees who find meaning in their jobs report being more motivated, engaged, empowered, and satisfied with their work.[3]


Today’s young workers, more than any generation before, demand a sense of purpose in their jobs.


Studies show that finding purpose in their work is a critical factor for millennials and key to helping recruit, retain, and inspire a younger generation of workers. If you are a leader trying to recruit top millennial talent and you are not prioritizing the creation of purpose for your employees, you are going to miss out on some of the most coveted people on the job market.


Cultivating a sense of purpose within an organization and supporting the embracing passion in the work, will result in team members being more willing to support the organization as a whole.[4]

Levels of engagement increase, innovation increases, and loyalty increases.




[1] Glenn Llopis, “10 Ways To Inspire Your Team,” Forbes (May 6, 2013). https://www.forbes.com/sites/glennllopis/2013/05/06/10-things-inspire-teams-to-optimally-perform/#e9538956c831


[2] William Vanderbloem, “Why purpose should be a pivotal part of your business strategy,” Forbes (January 29, 2018). https://www.forbes.com/sites/williamvanderbloemen/2017/01/29/why-purpose-should-be-a-pivotal-part-of-your-business-strategy/#11674a034135


[3] Patrick Cook-Deegan and Kendal Cotton Bronk, “Want A Purpose-Driven Business? Know The Difference Between Mission And Purpose,” Fast Company (April 1, 2018). https://www.fastcompany.com/40552232/want-a-purpose-driven-business-know-the-difference-between-mission-and-purpose


[4] Sherene Suchy, Leading with Passion: Change Management in the 21st-Century Museum (Maryland, USA: AltaMira Press, 2003), 31.