First of a five-part series.
Company values, when taken to heart, act as a guiding light that can point a business towards living up to its higher purpose. These values can also play a key role in setting the direction for the leadership team as they work together to raise the bar and grow the business.
However, as leaders tasked with steering a company, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of everyday responsibilities and not lead our teams as effectively as we’d like. Without that consistent leadership, and a clear set of values — values that are distinct and compelling — it’s like letting our businesses evolve without inspiring any sense of direction.
Here at Triton, values have played an essential role in inspiring all of us as Tritons to work together to make a meaningful difference every day. It’s created this sense of family and purpose as we work collectively to be the best of the best. During this journey, we’ve learned that how people feel about where they work directly influences job performance, camaraderie, and even whether they stay long term. Our company values have helped us build a real sense of belonging, and helped define a clear company identity that stands for something beyond just sales and earnings.
So how do we go about discovering our unique company values and implementing them successfully? For us at Triton the process involved four distinct parts:
1. Start with commitment. In the beginning, we began by unearthing a set of values that we believed were unique to the Triton Metal Products family. We then appointed leaders who put intentional thought, strategy and plan management into implementing our values into every aspect of the business. Out of this process, we were able to establish our higher purpose and mission, all through team effort and collaboration. The time, energy, resources, and commitment put into this initiative has produced results far beyond what we ever imagined, elevating our company, and our culture, to higher levels of unity and achievement.
2. Develop (and share) the message. Once we knew what we believed in as a company, the next step was to flesh out creative expressions of these values and share them internally. Language helps define culture, so the more something is heard, the more it sinks in. For example, Triton’s tagline is “Minds + Machines.” It means that we use our minds as well as our machines to raise the bar in innovative ways to make a meaningful difference for our customers, our communities, and our fellow Tritons. It also supports our core values, challenging us to use our minds to solve problems better and learn so we can grow and improve as a team and as individuals. Minds + Machines is just one of many phrases we use to express our values in a fun and effective way.
3. Live it. Talk without the walk is easily spotted — and quickly discarded. If we stopped at just sharing the message, we’d be missing the mark. It’s crucial to plan ways to help our teams live out these values in real life. Executing this can be hard because it involves change and learning how to walk the talk. That’s why it’s important to coach, train, and show how it’s done, as opposed to barking out orders and expecting something to happen. One of our core values happens to be initiative. A “live it” example happened recently when one of our Tritons was given an idea without any specific instructions or expectations. It wasn’t long before they came back with data to support the idea and even took the “initiative” to include a plan for its implementation. This is walking the talk.
4. Be accountable. After establishing how to live up to our values, it was time to hold ourselves accountable to do what we promised we would do. So, we implemented systems to track, measure and encourage progress, and put benchmarks in place so that everyone knows when the mark has been hit or missed. It has taken a lot of practice, but almost everything in the plant is either flowing against our values or with them. It is our job to make sure all decisions and actions are flowing with them, propelling the business forward.
With these four distinct parts in place, we’ve been able to grow our culture, and our business, all by attracting the right mix of talent that holds our values near and dear to their heart.
We hope our journey has inspired you to think about new ways that you can develop and progress as a leader of your organization. Let us know how it goes.