We developed our values at Mubadala years ago. And we did so by following all the standard best practices; asked employees to reflect on what they thought our values should be, got leadership to buy in, right down to ensuring an engaging and inclusive rollout of the selected values. We even went as far as incorporating our values into our annual recognition program – celebrated at our annual employee gathering. We called this phase one.
Phase two came in during the second year and wasn’t as straight forward. The shine had worn off and employees were more critical now. This stage was dedicated to looking into processes and pressure testing if they all lived up to the values. This is where we found it got tricky. You are bound to ruffle up some feathers, annoy people as you look under their hood and into their processes.
My key takeaway is that it doesn’t have to be so lonely. Make friends along the way. Be honest with stakeholders. You can do this by:
- Reminding them that we collectively own the values and how well they are lived.
- Reinforcing the importance of being proactive and looking into processes and the impact it will have on their credibility
- Encouraging leaders by showing them what is working well. It gives you more permission to be tough on the things that need addressing
- Approaching leadership with proposed solutions with other corporate heads and not alone.
Too often we lose track of what’s important. Our focus should be on the outcome and not necessarily the individuals who get the idea above the line.