with greg layton

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In our first three minisodes on leading high performance teams, we built your vision and purpose and then turned that into a strategy.

So your team now knows where they should be in two to three years (their vision) and also why (their purpose) and how you’re getting there (their strategy).

Now the next questions are, “Who are we and what do we stand for?” and “How will people remember us?”

And this starts with shared values.

What are values?

Values are principles or standards of behaviour; one's judgement of what is important in life. In a team sense, they grow from your shared spirit; the aspirations and shared principles you have for life and work.

They open the door for each and every person becoming their best self, and for feedback and overt symbolic actions that demonstrate specific behaviours you want to see in your people.

It is easy to forget that unwritten standards of behaviour already exist in your team. You have a culture now. It can be seen the behaviours and actions of people every day. It can be seen in the stories they tell, the rituals and traditions, the way they greet each other, how they respond when things go wrong, how they celebrate.

To shift that culture, start with bringing your values to life.

How to bring your values to life

“A low standard you walk past, is a new standard set”
– Wayne Bennett

When Values are just words on a wall they are too vague and open to interpretation. It is also easy to forget how important they are. And when difficult situations arise, the words provide no guidance or standards by which to live.

Make sure in your team that you take the corporate values and link them directly to your team and how they should be interpreted for you. Make sure they are aspirational and demand that everyone raises their game. Remember, they define how you want to be remembered. Your unique YOU, your legacy or trademark.

  1. Define what the value means or you and your team;
  2. Turn it into a standard;
  3. Bring to life with your own language.

Worked examples of defining team values

1. Value: Ethical

Definition: Ethical means that we are the moral compass of the business.

Standards: We will….align the moral compass during challenging situations. We will never…turn a blind eye when someone is doing something unethical.

Our mantra: “Stand up for what’s right”

2. Value: Deliver Results

Definition: This means that we will always go the extra mile to get things done for our customers. We will serve them and ensure work is completed on time, every time.

Standards: We will…always find a way to get it done. We will never…make excuses to our customers for not doing a job.

Our Mantra: “Nail it”

Values take courage

They are about setting an aspirational standard of behaviour. I remember seeing a great client of mine, Graham Crew, stop the operations of a mine under intense commercial pressure so as to reinforce their value of safety. This symbolic action echoed throughout the mine that values weren't just words on a call.

But they take strong leadership.

Start with your values and bring them to life and you'll find that people throughout your business bring the best version of themselves to work every single day. It's a more enjoyable place to work and most definitely gets commercial and operational results.

Stay epic,


Next article in the High Performance Teams series:

Pillar 1/Mission: Part 5 – Goals