Saturday, January 21, 2023
This week, I had the privilege to speak at Black’s Tire’s annual associate meeting in South Carolina. Not only is Black’s a significant customer of mine, but I have a close association with the Benton family, who own the company, which dates back almost 20 years. So the opportunity to speak to their team twice this week was very special to me, indeed.
In my prepared remarks, I planned to remind the folks at Blacks that organizations should either: ensure that every single associate in their organization is able to recite, by heart, the values of that organization … or not have values at all. It starts with communicating those values to associates, talking about them constantly, and expecting them to both be able to repeat them when asked but more importantly to live them day in and day out.
But at Black’s, Ricky Benton Sr., the patriarch of the business, whose remarks on Saturday preceded mine, beat me to the punch. He reminded his team of their four values, and that they need to know them and live them each and every day. Ricky didn’t need to hear my speech to understand a plain truth of life and business: teams that have, know, and live by a set of common (positive) values win more often.
And that’s the point for the week.
The values of any organization should define and telegraph to others how it and its people will conduct themselves in any situation. They detail how they treat their people, their customers and their suppliers. They make it clear how an organization’s employees will care for its property and other assets. They tell others what a relationship with their company and its people should be like. And because of these things, they create alignment around positive ways of doing things. Because of that, teams with lived values win more often.
But like everything else in life, learning then living the values of an organization is a choice. But it’s ultimately a choice between winning and losing. Because the behaviors associated with learning then aligning with an organization’s values and its culture are directly tied to job success and in turn organizational success and winning.
Organizations that post value statements on their walls then refuse to live them are guilty of nothing less than making promises they have no intention of keeping. Because posted values that go unlived are simply empty words that rob every person in the place of any credibility they might ever have had.
Black’s Tire lives their values. And because of it, they have credibility with others and are exceedingly successful in the marketplace.
That same outcome is available to any organization … if they live the values of their organization, every play, every day.
Organizations that achieve that will be regarded by more and more of their associates as a great place to work – because organizations where people do what they say they are going to do are the kind of places people want to work. They are also the kind of places people want to buy from, sell to and invest in.
And building a place like that is, after all, what winning is all about.
So, be like Black’s. Learn then live your values.
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