Culture Transformation Become a Coach Hire Event Speaker Connect with Us Login

Using CoreVals™ to Confidently Step into Difficult Conversations

core values Jun 21, 2021

In today’s changing climate, it is no surprise that many businesses and their leadership teams have been faced with making some difficult decisions. From furloughs to cancelled bonuses, many sacrifices are being made from top to bottom. These difficult decisions - and the difficult conversations that follow - are never enjoyable. However,  if you let your CoreVals™ guide and empower your dialog, they will strengthen your ability to step into a room and have that talk go a lot more smoothly.


To build, rebuild or maintain your company’s culture, you must make a priority to put culture above all else. It’s hard not to get caught up in internal issues, recurring problems, and glitches in what you thought were proven strategies. By focusing on culture, you eliminate ineffective patterns, set a more positive course, and then that course perpetuates all on its own. That’s the beauty of leading a culture instead of just leading a company. With a little preventive care and maintenance, healthy cultures run autonomously, leaving you free to focus more on growth and the big picture. 


If you used The Culture Fix® and our 9 Deeds in 90 Days™ to develop your CoreVals™, you know that they must include descriptive behaviors. This makes it much easier to have the difficult conversations, as you can reference these mutually agreed upon values to determine performance or needs. For example, if a company is asking its leadership team to take a 10% decrease to their salary and you simply announce this change as a fact, you are bound to receive pushback or at the very least, unhappy mumblings from those affected. However if the same company were to lean on their CoreVal™ of Teamwork: We Respect and Help Others, the response may be embraced more positively. By taking a hit, collectively, they are acting to preserve the entire team. 


COVID-19 sacrifices aside, embracing your CoreVals applies to all situations and awkward conversations that we are tempted to avoid. The “we” that is established will empower these conversations from both ends of the spectrum. Take a needed discussion of discipline or review with someone not performing. Instead of "I think you could do better", use those CoreVals and shift the conversation to "we". Through these mutually agreed upon values, tough decisions became mutual decisions. Either they become a "we", or hopefully consider going somewhere where there is a better cultural fit.


In the early years at Waer Systems, we had a cultural misfit who was starting to drag the team down. This individual wasn’t a bad performer, just a cultural antagonist. The friction he caused suppressed others, and reduced their morale and productivity. Unsure how to go about the unhiring™ process, I decided to start by discussing our CoreVals in a closed-door meeting. I went through them, one by one, reiterating that the people who thrived at Waer Systems were individuals who felt like they were a fit with our stated values. Every now and then, I would pause to let one sink in, or simply ask, “Do you feel like these values resonate with you?”


Finally, to my surprise, he volunteered, “Maybe I should be looking to work elsewhere.” With relief, I quickly confirmed this sentiment, and we were able to amicably discuss his transition.


Sometimes these conversations also need to be discussed with a measurable example in hand. As we have outlined in a recent blog on unhiring, it is important to implement the CoreScore™ to measure the degree to which your employees work in concert with your CoreVals. You can measure them on an individual basis, against peers or even as a part of the entire team. This process makes it really clear and validates whatever feelings you have about an individual, especially when benchmarked against a group of their peers. 


A general note on CoreVals and difficult conversations. One of the things that following this methodology does is empower everyone from the most junior person in the company to the most senior person in the company. That means that the CEO has the same accountability as the accountant. What a gift to any team that is plagued by festering issues, such as someone’s annoying habit or suffering through hurt feelings. By embracing your CoreVals and letting them guide your conversations, everyone can hold each other accountable in all ways!


This is a great time for learning and changing the way this practice may have been done in your organization in the past. Don’t forget, by avoiding yet another difficult conversation- any difficult conversation- you are not helping anyone. Lead your business as a true Culture Czar®, where difficult conversations that promote healthy, safe relationships are embraced, not avoided, and your growth will be unstoppable.


If you are interested in taking the plunge into the 9 Deeds in 90 Days, you can order your copy now on Amazon.


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.