Genna Southworth (
Wed, 01 Jul 1998 15:45:31 -0700

Replying to LO18505 --

Suzanne wrote:
> Our organisation is in the process of developing Core Institutional Values
> - which we have tentatively defined as 'how we will conduct ourselves in
> transforming our mandate/mission/vision into reality'.
> -- I'm still rather vague about how they can and
> should directly influence the organization, and subsequently how they
> relate to competency profiles.
> Your assistance is appreciated.

Our company, Darex Industrial Tool Corporation, went through a core values
process about 2.5 years ago and its impact runds deeply throughout the
organization. Let me say up front that our company is like our state's
tourism motto -- "Things look different here." Our core values are Love &
Respect, Honesty & Integrity, Continuous Improvement, Darex It=Simplify,
Enjoy What We Do. We have one work rule: "Live the Values."

The values were developed through meetings with an external consultant who
first led the leadership group (President/Owner & Department Directors --
so-called at the time) through a lot of personal reflection about their
own values and how they translated into where the company was going and
how they wanted to get there. Conversations (euphemism for "meetings")
with the rest of the employees followed and the core values eventually
emerged. The values are painted on the wall above the lunch room in a
sign about 10x20 feet.

They emerged not only in themselves, but with behaviors
(read:competencies) associated with them -- see below. Most of these
competencies are not technical in nature, although they have significant
technical ramifications (i.e. Darex It=Simplify). The greater intent was
to establish cultural norms and behaviors which would increasingly
develop accountable and team-focused actions, moving away from the
traditional dependency model operable in most organizations. While the
accountability model (similar to Block's Stewardship model) is taking
longer to actually manifest (dependency is a strong addiction, I think),
the Core Values of the company are important to probably 90% of the
employees. People actually ask "does that line up with our core values?"
in response to an action or a decision or a behavior. It is used as part
of our Team-to-Team evaluation process, which is tied into the company's
profit-sharing formula. It translates into how work is done throughout
the company, from marketing to assembly to shipping.

Here is how the Darex Values translate into behaviors:

Love & Respect -- Be concerned about the welfare of others and hold others
in high esteem. Treat others as you want to be treated. No third party
talk, no blame. People supporting each other in work teams. Teams
supporting other teams supporting the whole. Be a resource for others to
learn and grow from. Be this to all people, including ourselves, our
customers, our vendors, and our community.

Honesty & Integrity -- Speak and live what is true for you. Keep your
agreements. Be accountable for your actions and your commitments. Take
ownership of your choices. Walk your talk.

Continuous Improvement -- Encourage and support people in learning and
growing, so we can learn and grow as a company. Encourage and reward
informed risk-taking and learn from our improvements and mistakes. Reach
for our highest potential as people and as an organization. Challenge the
status quo, embrace change, increase productivity, and eliminate waste.
Share the risks and the rewards from the mistakes and the improvements

Darex It=Simplify -- This is our core competency; this is what we do best.
Strive to Simplify everything including our products, processes, personnel
programs. Strive to Simplify our message to our customers and our

Enjoy what we do -- Have fun! Strive to keep Darex an organization people
want to be a part of. Strive to keep balance in our lives at work, and
between home, work, and community.

I know this is a lot to post here, but I am extrmely proud of how we do
what we do -- AND I hold a belief that coming to shared agreement about
Core Values sets up the foundation for building healthier relationships,
higher productivity, greater profits, etc. Core Values which do not
result in changes in organizational processes don't do any good...if we
were to hire people without taking stock of whether they are a fit in
terms of core values then the culture would clash with the stated values.
If people do not get feedback (evaluations) regarding how their individual
or team behaviors reflect the core values, then inter- and intra-team
relationships might be more typical -- conflictual, lots under the
waterline, even more third-party talk (no, we haven't gotten rid of it --
yet!), but teams are supported to keep relationships clean. The value of
Simplify means that when I suggest time out to do a long process, I get
questioned -- but if it supports the value of Continuous Improvement and
people really understand that, then they'll go for it. Simplify also means
that R&D and Engineering really do look at simple product designs, low
costs, etc. And believe it or not, we have a FUN Committee which keeps us
on track with that value. Anyway...enough rambling -- as I often hear on
the intercom -- "It's a great day at Darex" !

Thanks for your interest!!!


Genna Southworth <>

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