Culture is the personality of the organization, and requires staff to help bring this personality to life. Last year as I came into my new role as the Manager of Quality Engineering here at the VMware Sydney office, I felt that it was important for my team members and I to get together in order to discuss VMware’s core values. Values are the underlying principles that guide our mission and strategic goals keeping the team focused through change and serving as a guide to the way we make our decisions. Defining the culture as a team allows personal feelings and values to be considered.
These values being, Passion, Innovation, Dedication to Execution, Teamwork, Active Learning, and Giving back more than we take. With the objective of identifying what these values meant to each employee, including the behaviors we should see more of and those that we wished to see less of, we were able to map out a mind map. Mind mapping is a way to encourage brainstorming and represent our thoughts and ideas around a central key word in a single visual that creates impact. Making sure the whole team was involved in this process helped solidify a sense of ownership for all in how we were going to move forward as a team with integrating these values across everything we do in our daily work live.
Integrating these behaviors into the way you work is an ongoing process and is critical in inspiring change and keeping the culture alive. Here are several tips that you can implement to successfully follow through with your teams values on a day-to-day basis.
- Align your language to the values and integrate the values into your regular communication process.
- Reward and recognize actions that are in line with the values, reinforcing the desired behaviors.
- Regularly discuss the values amongst your team
- Continually measure the teams engagement
- Hire people that fit the company and team culture
- Create visibility of culture around the workplace with posters and signs
- Hold each other accountable to the culture by speaking up and challenging each other
- Understand individuals’ values in relation to the company values
- Remember, the company values people recall first are usually those that they resonate the most with
The team found this exercise clunky at first, which is expected, as it requires you to think about behaviors and attitude rather than the task, which can take you out of your comfort zone. Creating a safe environment will encourage your team to completely engage.
– Comments below are from members in my team –
‘Gab always surprises the team with new concepts and ideas. By exploring VMware values, we build bonding and trust within the team. More importantly, we align the corporate business and culture values with our attitude towards daily work.’
Iris – Software Quality Engineer, Sydney R&D
‘This exercise is very useful and important to get a deeper understanding on what the values actually mean for us. The activity opens a discussion and provokes thought on how to improve and support ourselves within the defined values’
– Comments below are from socialcast (Internal social network for VMware) –
‘It’s really great. Nobody discusses such things at a deep level. In fact it is more important than anything else before we start work!!’
Sachin -Business Analyst, Partner Operations.
‘An insightful depiction of how each of us can better align ourselves with the organization's mission and values’
Defining a team culture, brand and vision are steps toward building a high performance culture, as well as encouraging self-awareness. I have performed this exercise of defining a culture with many teams over my career and find it personally rewarding, I enjoy leading people towards common goals and helping people realize their potential by getting clarity over their blind-spots, achieving greater self-awareness.
My role at VMware being Manager of Quality Engineering for the Sydney R&D team is rewarding in that it provides me with challenge, and opportunity to explore my creativity through people and process management.
Happy people and a healthy process within your business can lead to quality and success.
Gabrielle Dracopoulos – Manager, Quality Engineering
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