Why should you care about Core Values?

From its inception nearly 30 years ago PERFORMANCE CONTROLS, INC.® (PCI), has had the same mission: To design, manufacture, sell, and service high bandwidth, low noise electronics for precision applications  in the medical, government, and industrial markets.

Perry Walraven has been the CEO for the past eight years and has seen the company grow 300% in that time, 25% just in 2010.  Unlike many firms today, finding new customers is not difficult for the business.  But finding enough qualified engineers to relieve the stress in their engineering group has been difficult; at this point it’s the bottleneck limiting their growth.

Implementing the “Habits” over the past year and a half helped them with what was one of their biggest issues then, accountability. With the beginning of their fiscal year on April 1st, they’ve shifted their focus toCore Values, in part to be able to attract and retain the types of employees who will help them to sustain their growth.

As Perry shared with me, “In the past three or four years, issues around “accountability” required more and more of management’s time. When we were introduced to the “Habits”, we realized its potential to help with not only accountability, but with other headaches as well.  We were not disappointed.  Focused planning, meeting rhythms, and clear objectives were very useful.  We don’t waste a lot of time anymore with “whose job is it” discussions.”

“I’m sure there would be complaints if we went back to our ‘old habits’,” he adds.

The result that impresses Perry most? Now – when he’s not in the office – managers do the same things that they do when he’s there.  That’s a real accomplishment!

 

So how do they plan on tackling Core Values?

As part of the “Habits” work, they re-examined their Core Values and developed these:

  • We share enjoyment in working for customers.
  • We have passion for the challenges our customer bring to us.
  • We make our customers’ jobs easier and provide a competitive advantage for each one.
  • We have positive, productive and can – do attitudes.
  • We have respect for each other and the contributions we each make to our success.

“I’ve felt for a while that there were issues with our Core Values,” said Perry.  “It’s clear to me that we don’t all support them, especially the last two.  They’re posted on the wall.  We’ve talked about them at meetings but they’re not being lived.”

So, when they rolled out a new plan a few months ago, they decided that they needed to get some more data from their employees to get their perspective on the issue.

As the first step, PCI just completed an opinion survey that included “engagement”questions like “I know what is expected of me at work” as well as open ended questions like “Please describe something about working for PCI that particularly pleases you: and the flip side of that question “….that particularly bothers you”.

The results?  Some good stuff but some surprises.

More to come on that and PCI’s next steps in strengthening their Core Values…and if you’re interested in checking out the Spirit Magazine article on the importance of Core Values to Southwest’s success, click here.

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