Beyond Words on Paper

Jim King

Okuma COO Jim King - Corporate Values

Many of us have spent time in companies where the official corporate values are simply words on paper, and once they’re completed, they get filed away for safekeeping. Subsequently, the executive team envisions that employees will embrace these values, but there seems to be no action plan for implementing these concepts in day-to-day activities.

Bringing Corporate Values to Life

I believe that corporate values provide an essential sense of purpose that today’s employees desire and should therefore be continuously expressed and reinforced so members can fully embrace and bring them to the marketplace. Here I’ll share just a few of the ways we bring our corporate values to life here at Okuma America.

“Who We Are” as a Company

Several years ago, Okuma America conducted a comprehensive internal process to establish our corporate mission, vision, and values. This process was heavily research-based to include input from customers, partners, and employees, so we were confident we captured an accurate picture of “who we are” as a company and what we stand for in the eyes of our stakeholders. Our mission statement, “We passionately pursue a customer for life” is a key centerpiece for our values and something we express often, both internally and externally.

Presentations Put a Spotlight on Values

One of the ways we express this is in our group presentations. No matter what the presentation is about, we open with a Values slide and briefly discuss this with the audience to provide perspective. Our mission statement is always prominently displayed, and the presenter also highlights a couple of key points that are relevant to the topic being presented. We’ve found this to be a powerful way to keep our values top-of-mind for our employees while providing a compelling point of differentiation in the eyes of our customers.

Okuma Mission Vision Values Slide
Recognizing Individual Achievement

We use a performance management software called 15Five to collect feedback about employees who are doing a great job in their positions. Members can give their co-workers what’s called a “high five” when they do something notable, and they indicate the particular corporate value this action represents. At the end of the year, we analyze these individual achievements and rank them based on feedback from managers and the executive team.

Each year our December holiday party includes a ceremony where we give an award and a check to the top performer for each value, and also an overall winner for representing all of our values in total. Once again, this provides a great way to keep our values in the minds of our employees and to recognize exemplary actions that bring these values to life.

Okuma America Lobby - Mission Statement
A Life Force for the Organization

As you can see, corporate values are something we cherish at Okuma America. It’s what gives our company heart and soul, and it gives our employees purpose. I hear it often from employees, both new and old, that they feel fired up about coming to work because they have a purpose and know how they’re contributing to the overall mission. Every day we touch and express some aspect of our corporate values, and this keeps them in our awareness as a top priority at all times.

Good things happen when you liberate your values beyond just words on paper. Values become a life force for the organization that sets you apart in the marketplace.

About Jim King
Jim King
is President and COO, Okuma America Corporation.
Follow Jim on LinkedIn.

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