Living Your Values: Confimility?

July 2011, by So-Young Kang

For our Living Your Values series, So-Young Kang from The Awaken Group interviewed Ashley Semmens, Director and COO of WCL, about how WCL creates its values and lives it out. Ashley Semmens is an expert in change management, performance, the successful delivery of strategy and change initiatives, and strategic planning.

1) So-Young: How did you come up with your core values?

Ashley: We were an already successful and growing business, with positive cultural attributes and a strong core value base.

We asked clients why they chose and preferred us – they said it was because of the people, the way they interacted, their values. We needed to ensure that we didn’t lose the ‘WCL Magic’ that everyone spoke of.

Primary trigger – ensuring duplicability of our values as we grow and enhancing our employer brand even further, ensuring long-term alignment of staff to the business and behaviours that we want to be.

How did we do it:

1. Leadership set the principles

2. Established a company-wide values team to do more work on the principles

3. Leadership refined and agreed the core principles

4. Engaged all staff to work creatively and intensively on defining the specific positive and negative behaviours for each principle

5. Implemented a programme of awareness/application and reinforcement with our people and delivery processes

The Values the business adopted:

· Zing – energy, pace, drive, edge and making a difference

· Profable – being professional and still likeable

· Confimility – confident and having humility – being humble and ego-free

· Setting others up for success – adding value to everyone you interact with, for team benefit

· “I am WCL” – represent the brand in everything we do and we are all the brand and business

2) So-Young: How did you bring them to life?

Ashley: Bringing the values to life took a number of elements:

  • Having staff own the development process and allowing for unique WCL personality to come through
  • We worked the behaviours definition on one of our company ski trips and had everyone define the positive and negative behaviours as ‘on piste’ and ‘off piste’ behaviours. This was done through some team artistry and healthy discussion.
  • Launched the values in a physical sense (juggling balls – one for each value)
  • Documented in all staff material – staff handbook, induction programme, associate sessions etc.
  • Reinforced and recognised positive behaviours on an ongoing basis.

3) So-Young: How did you sustain it?

Ashley: We did a lot of reinforcement early through all of the leaders:

  • Built the values into the staff objectives and appraisal processes
  • Watched for values in all work assignments / interactions
  • 360-degree feedback for team leaders (Account Managers) to identify behavioural alignment
  • Company-wide recognition through the values awards annually ‘The Ashleys’ (modelled off the academy awards with one figurine awarded for each value)
  • Share the values with clients and stakeholders to build the story and staff ownership

4) So-Young: Over the years, what is the impact you’ve seen in living out your values?

Ashley: We ended up with a much stronger core. We have seen impact in:

  • Greater retention of ‘on-values’ staff
  • Strengthened sense of self and employer brand
  • Client satisfaction reflecting behaviours even more