One of the things I've always been a fan of is having potential factors as an alternative to company values.
Background: At Kinetix, we have potential factors instead of values. They're designed to identify what we value most in talent and as such, should be our guides in how we hire, promote and reward, and at times, fire.
You can find all of our potential factors in an online document/handbook we call The Kinetix Code.
If you want to rethink your company values and think about subbing them out for potential factors, here's your process:
1. You meet with your leadership team. There’s a lot of fancy ways to frame this, but it really comes down to answering the following question:
“Let’s think about the stars at our company. What is it about them, regardless of position, that makes them successful at our company? Give me single words that serve as adjectives to describe what our stars have behaviorally cognitively (no skills!) that other people don’t, and any word you give me has to be descriptive of the group of stars in your opinion – no words that apply to one or some and not the others.”
2. Do that, and you’ll end up with a brainstorming session about words they think are descriptive of the highest performers in your company. You’ll get as many as 70 words out of this process.
3. You take the raw list of words and start combining things that mean the same thing, or close to the same thing. For example, initiative and drive are closely related. When you find words that mean the same thing, your job is to put them on the same line and then decide what word best describes the behavior in your culture.
4. Once you do that offline and knock down the number, you’ll have a list of 20-25 words to choose your initial potential factors from. There are a lot of ways to pick the ones you want. Your CEO can look at it and tell you what he/she wants, you can pick and tell the team, or preferably, you can have a working session to discuss, maybe cull it down to a list of 10 factors the team generally believes are the best – then figure out how you’re going to cut it to ones you want to launch. I’m big on a shielded vote for those, which still allows you and your CEO/ops leader veto power without doing that in a public setting.
What's the right number of potential factors to have? Same number as values. 5-6 seems to be the sweet spot, do more that and you'll lose the capability to position themselves as important.
Good luck if you undertake this process - it's worth the time to take a look at.