MAXIM #1: An organization’s culture begins and ends with its values.
Let’s begin by understanding the definition of values. We define values as standards of behavior; qualities used as a method to attain an end or goal.
But to fully grasp this maxim, you must understand what we mean by right values. Because right as it is being used here doesn’t mean “correct.” The definition of right we are using means: in accordance with what is good, proper, or just.
In other words, what we mean by right values are values that are good, proper, or just for everyone—both executives and employees. The right values will be agreed upon by everyone, because the right values will improve each individual’s personal life as well as their workplace environment.
So, it’s simple. To obtain the right culture, you must have the right values. The right standards of behavior create the right culture which increases productivity. Why? Because when people achieve personal growth from applying the right values, they feel better and do better on their job.
Conversely, the wrong values make a person feel worse, produce a poor culture which will affect their productivity, and eventually the bottom line suffers. In the worst-case scenario, it causes bankruptcy.
When viewed in these terms, having the right values is no light matter. As an organization, you sink or swim with the values practiced by your executives and employees.
This is true. I have experienced it first-hand when I worked for a huge company with the wrong values—Kaiser Steel in Fontana, CA.
It was 1974. I had just turned 18 years-old, and I had been working hard (a right value) since I was 13. I’d had several jobs as a minor but working at Kaiser Steel was my first job as an adult.
It was the biggest industry in the Inland Empire, a metropolitan area that ranged from about 40 to 70 miles east of the Los Angeles metro area. My first job at Kaiser was as a laborer in the foundry. The foundry made the iron molds that helped in the production of steel ingots.
It was filthy, back-breaking work. Graphite dust would rain down on us constantly, and we had to wear a breathing mask to keep from breathing it in. The molds were so hot that we would also sweat profusely.
Nevertheless, I was used to hard and dirty work. My last job as a minor was repairing blacktops at the elementary schools in the summertime. And out on the asphalt, it could get as hot as 120 degrees.
On my first day in Kaiser Steel’s foundry, I heard something that I’d never heard before at any of my other jobs as a minor. I was hosing off the graphite from one of the forms used to make a mold. I was exuberant and enthusiastic because I was making more money per hour than I’d ever made before.
Behind me, I heard a voice shout out, “Hey! Don’t work so hard, you’re making the rest of us look bad.”
I turned around and saw big Lee Wiestan standing there smiling at me. I said, “What?”
He said, “Settle down. We don’t want to get done too fast or the foreman will give us more to do.”
I couldn’t believe my ears. I’d like to tell you it was the last time I ever heard that phrase, but it wasn’t. During my stint at Kaiser Steel, I was transferred around to several different areas of the steel mill and had several different kinds of jobs. My last job was as a forklift driver in the tin mill.
One night on the graveyard shift, the foreman came out and told me, “I have nothing for you to do. Go find somewhere to sleep out of sight.” I did as I was told and slept the whole shift. Getting paid for sleeping sounds like a good deal, but it really didn’t feel that good because getting paid for doing nothing, in my mind, felt like stealing.
Stealing never feels good whether it’s on purpose or when you’re forced into it because of circumstance.
Kaiser Steel was the ultimate example of having a bad culture, where even the management practiced poor values. The steel mill closed in the 1980s and filed bankruptcy in 1987. I wasn’t surprised when I heard the news.
There are all kinds of different actions that fall into the category of wrong values. But the common denominator of a wrong value would be a standard of behavior that doesn’t contribute to the benefit of the employees, executives, and the organization itself. In other words, any behavior that is counter-productive.
Organizations produce products or services. If you produce shabby products or services, the company will sooner or later be out of business.
This should be obvious to one and all. So, what are the right values?
A right value is a value that improves people’s ability to produce and helps them to be happier. The good news is that a right value is inherent in a human being’s basic nature. So, even though they may not be exhibiting the right value currently, with a little training they can revitalize their own human nature.
When they do, they achieve personal growth and happiness. This is why our genius revitalization training works so well. Drive, Courage, Devotion to Goals, Knowledge, Honesty, and Optimism are the first 6 of the 24 genius characteristics. Who doesn’t want more Drive? More Courage? More Devotion to Goals? More Knowledge? Etc.
Who doesn’t want to grow personally and have more ability?
No one. The more ability a person has, the happier they become. Only a sociopath will object to others having more ability and happiness.
Our training revitalizes the 24 genius characteristics within you. You, or anyone you work with, can learn to operate on a genius level. The 24 characteristics of geniuses are standards of behavior that can be developed because they are inherent qualities within any human being.
These 24 traits of geniuses are right values. They change and improve any culture for the betterment of all—executives and employees. And when everyone starts operating on a genius level, the workplace becomes a fun place to be and productivity soars as a natural occurrence.
The genius traits need not be the only right values of your organization. But they are the needed basic values. Your company can add other right values so long as those values don’t hinder or oppose these values.
Any right value will help create the right culture. But remember, a right value always (1) increases production and (2) creates better morale and happiness. If it doesn’t then it’s a wrong value and should be discarded.
The path to a genius organization is wide open for you. Are you ready to walk it?
Then find out what it takes to be a genius.