The Worst Part Of My Job – Part Two

by Patrice Altenhofen on June 8, 2012

in Leadership,Performance Management,Strengths

Market Street Bridge

I recently heard the owner of a successful manufacturing organization explaining to his managers why he and his father had chosen “love” as a core company value. He was describing to his team how he envisioned that value supporting the daily activities of his managers. To him, “love” meant that his management team provided employees with the best chance to succeed, to progress in their jobs, to remain gainfully employed. He acknowledged it was not always easy for his managers to translate his vision into action, and it was a part of their job which needed to be reinforced consistently and often.

I believe, as you probably do too, the foundation of performance excellence is a match between the employee’s values and the corporate culture. At Cascade, we refer to this alignment as “cultural competency.” Our cultural competencies reflect the spirit with which work gets done. Our expectation for alignment is so high that we have committed our cultural competencies to writing and display them on our wall for everyone to see:

  • Lead: Teach by example. Demonstrate initiative. Accept accountability.
  • Collaborate: Value team work. Manage conflict proactively. Communicate positively.
  • Support: Show a high concern for our well-being. Know the importance of appropriate humor at work. Be genuinely interested in the success of others.
  • Develop: Seek continuous development of professional skills. Model confidence, competence, and credibility. Become the expert.
  • Innovate: Do things better than they’ve ever been done before. Be responsive, creative, resourceful, ambitious, optimistic.
  • Steward: Use resources wisely. Keep the bottom-line in perspective. Take care of each other.
  • Contribute: Initiate positive, sustainable change. Work to improve your community. Volunteer! Volunteer! Volunteer!

Earlier this week, in my post “Worst Part of My Job” I talked about how excited I am about a new approach we are taking to performance management, specifically a new form we have begun using here. Section One of the form is entitled Cultural Competencies – The spirit with which work gets done at Cascade. The instructions read: Please include examples of observed behaviors demonstrating the employee’s understanding of each competency. Where applicable, include examples of observed behaviors that may conflict with Cascade standards. Where no relevant observation was made, leave blank. There is no rating scale for this section.

Our intent is to reinforce cultural competency on a daily basis, with this section of the form completed by the supervisor and discussed with the employee on a monthly basis. We want to make it as easy as possible for our employees to see how what they do and how they behave every day influences our work environment.


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