A tough question. But a critical one. Not having an answer to this question prevents many leaders from stepping back from leadership or from passing on the business to the next generation.
The CEO who asked the question, like many others had spent much of his career building a business that was not only financially successful but served all the stakeholders, including the customers, the shareholders, the family, the employees, the suppliers and the community. With this much at stake, he wasn’t willing to just “hope for the best”. He wanted a method of codifying the values and culture into policies and processes that would be practiced throughout the organization. So, that’s what we did!
In a workshop with the organization’s key stakeholders, we identified the elements of the culture that are the foundation of their legacy. Some of core values expressed were: Respect for each other, Pride in our work, Fairness to all, Trust, Inclusiveness, Strategic thinking, Transparency, Community involvement, Recognition, No jerks allowed, Save the earth, and Making a difference. It’s no wonder that the employee satisfaction scores in this company are consistently high!
I introduced ISO 26000, the voluntary Guidance on Social Responsibility promulgated in 2010. We discussed the goal of ISO 26000 which is to incorporate the principles of social responsibility throughout the organization in a measurable and sustainable manner. I showed them the statistics comparing financial returns for socially responsible companies to companies who have not made this commitment. Then we dug deep into the seven elements of the ISO 26000 standard and matched up their organization’s core values and guiding principles to the processes in the guidelines. I could see the excitement build as the connection between their values and the ISO processes became clear. By the end of the day, the team had a roadmap to codify their culture to preserve it for the long term.
Do you have a culture that you value? Are you concerned that when you leave, the culture will change? Do you want your company to keep changing the world, a little bit at a time? Contact us and we will send you an introduction to ISO 26000. Let us help you preserve your legacy!