Most leaders know that a winning, engaged culture is the key to attracting top talent—and customers. Yet, it remains elusive how exactly to create this ideal workplace —one where everyone from the front lines to the board room knows the company’s values and feels comfortable and empowered to act on them.
Based on Ann Rhoades’ years of experience with JetBlue, Southwest, and other companies known for their trailblazing corporate cultures, Built on Values reveals exactly how leaders can create winning environments that allow their employees and their companies to thrive. Companies that create or improve values-based cultures can become higher performers, both in customer and employee satisfaction and financial return, as proven by Rhoades’ work with JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Disney, Loma Linda University Hospitals, Doubletree Hotels, Juniper Networks, and P.F. Chang’s China Bistros.
Built on Values provides a clear blueprint for how to accomplish culture change, showing:
How to exceed the expectations of employees and customers How to develop a Values Blueprint tailored to your organization’s goals and put it into action Why it's essential to hire, fire, and reward people based on values alone, and How to establish a discipline for sustaining a values-centric culture
Built on Values helps companies get on the pathway to greatness by showing the exact steps for either curing an ailing company culture or creating a new one from scratch.
Amazon Exclusive: Q&A with Ann Rhoades
Author Ann Rhoades How do you define a values-based culture? Most companies will tell you that they have a mission statement, or a formal vision statement. To me, the best companies have a fundamental value that they have defined as an anchor for the organization. In the best airlines, for instance, integrity and, of course, safety, are important anchors that really define the organizations. Knowing that values are important, how as a leader do you actually implement them? Like anything else that’s worth doing, it’s worth planning, so first you assess where you are. Then figure out, do you presently have a culture you want to continue having, or are there issues that you want to change? We believe that you have to blueprint the process and then have an ongoing system for maintaining that culture once you create it. We call it values blueprinting. You sit in a room with your best employees (from every level of the organization) and make sure that the values you presently have are correct, that they differentiate your organization, and, frankly, define it as a high-performing organization. Or you determine and define other values you really want to have. But the critical part of the blueprinting is that you also define the behaviors that will support those values. That’s the piece that most organizations fail to do. When employees hear integrity is a value, they don’t know necessarily what it means in terms of their behavior. The Values Blueprint walks you through how you roll it out, how you maintain it, and how you hold people accountable for it; that’s how you develop a culture that differentiates itself from others. What is different about a values-based culture? What would someone notice about an organization that adopts one versus one without it? The great thing about a values-based culture is that it defines everyone’s expectations. You can always rely on how you are going to be treated as a customer and what is expected of you as an employee. It comes down to consistency of performance and consistency of behavior. For instance, when I ask people to define Southwest Airlines, they will almost always define it by the behavior of employees. They talk almost invariably about how much fun they have on the Southwest flights versus flights on other airlines. That doesn’t just happen, it’s planned. Fun is one of the values at Southwest. They not only hire people who are fun, they hold people accountable for having fun, and it is one of the values of the organization and it is consistent. How do you hire people with the same values, how do you bring people onboard who can do that? Past behavior is predictive of future behavior about 94 percent of the time, so if someone had integrity yesterday, he or she will likely have integrity today. When you know what behaviors you want, you can ask questions of the individual and get examples of his or her past behaviors. If these behaviors match what you have defined as the behaviors you want, then you can actually predict that the individual will be successful in the organization. Could you give an example of putting this into practice? When we were starting to build JetBlue, one of the things we looked for were people with high integrity. We interviewed an individual who was a mechanic but had not been employed for three years. And the reason was that ninety days into his first job, he was as