Is your Leadership Audio in Sync with Your Video?
It’s really annoying to watch a video with the audio slightly out of sync. Too often this is what people see from their leaders in matching their behaviors to their bold proclaimed core values.

Here are a few examples of how leaders in extraordinary organizations ensure they’re role models of the organization’s values:

  • The CEO of a contact lens manufacturer begins each executive team meeting with a report from each executive on what they have personally done to advance the service/quality improvement effort in the past two weeks.  This includes such activities as senior vice presidents leading major process improvement initiatives, CEO lunches for top performers, each executive calling at least three customers a week who’ve experienced a problem, and executives kicking off every one of the dozens of service/quality introductory education and awareness sessions running throughout the company.
  • One executive team realized the “humorous” barbs VPs were throwing at each other had become a thinly disguised form of “sniping” that rippled through the organization with departments taking shots at each other as well.  To give the “sniper” feedback and help form more constructive team patterns, executives now clang a pen on their water glasses or coffee cups whenever one executive “snipes” at another team member.
  • A fine‑paper manufacturer, a large hospital, a producer of medical devices, and a federal government department demonstrated their clear commitment to development by making the budgets for these efforts “sacred and off‑limits” during painful budget cuts.
  • To dramatize the importance of clean bus depot restrooms, the president of a bus line warned his managers he would drop into any depot on an hour’s notice and dine in the washroom.  Within weeks he was getting photos of managers dining in spotless washrooms.
  • Executives at an insurance company developed their own unique approach to “management by wandering around” and signaling called PEET — Program to Ensure that Everybody’s Thanked. Each of the fifteen executives receives a monthly PEET sheet, which lists the names and leader of three they are to visit to discuss the core values.  After the visit, the executive notes the visit’s highlights and sends the PEET sheet to Culture Team Central. A monthly summary of highlights and trends is compiled and circulated to the executive team.
  • Senior executives are the instructors for major coaching and team leadership skills development efforts that equip every manager and supervisor to live the new culture.
  • A high tech manufacturer was running at capacity to meet escalating demand. One of their hottest products was slightly off specifications, yet the desperate customer said he would take them anyway. But the plant manager refused to ship a product that wasn’t up to standard.  The CEO reports “It took about five seconds for the people in the plant to understand that he was serious about quality. Those are the things that have to happen because people are always asking, ‘What do you want? Quality or profit?’ The answer is ‘Both’.”
  • Executives of a clothing manufacturer spend one Saturday a month on the sales floor of major retail outlets selling their products. “It’s quite an eye‑opener to sell our own brand and watch people decide to buy other people’s clothing,” says one senior manager.

Do the people you’re leading feel your values rhetoric matches your leadership reality? What’s your feedback loop? Do know whether they feel your video is synced with your audio?