11/09/2014 07:59 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Shared Standards: Setting Your Stakeholders up for Success

In my last two blog posts I discussed the concept of turning your values into standards and the resulting benefits of doing so.

Before you begin the process to define, cascade and embed standards, it is critical to create a setting for success with the key stakeholders for this work. Below are three critical principles to set you up for success.
  • Start from the assumption that you should not make any assumptions. Your audience may not have thought deeply about this issue, or may not yet feel strongly about it. You need to have a strong collective will before you begin the actual process of turning values into standards
  • Most organizations will have more than just a list of values; they will often have descriptions or definitions for the values. These descriptions are usually not standards. It is critical to differentiate between this content, or else your standards will just look like another list.
    • A description answers the question "what does this value mean?"
    • A standard answers the question "how would you know if I was living this value/what would you see?"
  • Some organizations will have programs to support their values, and some will even have champions. These types of initiatives are very helpful in communicating what the values mean, and encouraging people to move toward them. They are not, however, a substitute for senior leaders holding each other accountable to a set of shared standards.
In next week's post I will talk about how to define, cascade and embed standards in your organizations.

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