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Identify the steps you need to take in order to roll out new values in an organization.

By Ruth Tearle


In this task you will identify what you need to do, to roll out new values in an organization. You will:

  • Identify the steps you need to take, to get people to understand the new values, and to practice living them over and over again, until they become a habit.
  • Create a system to identify and remove barriers that could prevent people from living the values.
  • Ensure that your organization is aligned to support the new values.

The steps you identify during this task will form part of your strategy to roll out values in your organization, or embed new values into an organizational culture.

You don't roll out organizational values in a single workshop. Follow these 9 steps to make new values come alive in your organization.

Nine steps to follow to roll out values in an organization.

Build these 9 steps into your strategy for rolling out values in your own organization.

1. Communicate the new values

The first step is to communicate the new values to all employees in such a way that they get excited about the new values and want to live by them.

To build excitement and commitment to values use a participative workshop in which:

  • The CEO opens the workshop. He explains why the new values were developed. He describes how having everyone live out the values will benefit the organization, customers, teams and every individual.
  • Participation builds commitment.

    Creativity builds excitement.

  • The facilitator presents the new values. The groups discuss the benefits of the new values to themselves and to their stakeholders.
  • The teams get to experience the new values. They perform a creative activity such as acting out what it would be like, if everyone were to live by the new values. The creativity of the activity builds excitement around the values.

2. Provide opportunities for teams and individuals to practice living the values


Living new values is about doing, rather than knowing. To encourage people to practice behaving according to the new values, rather than just talking about them, create a number of team and individual activities.

Some activities may form part of our workshops. Other activities may be used after the workshops as part of competitions and awards.

Examples of activities could include:

  • Get teams to act out what they would be doing in the future, if they were living the new values, or one of the new values.
  • Get teams to act out how different stakeholders would benefit if everyone lived by the new values.
  • Get individuals to show what they will do to begin living the new values.

Since it takes 21 times of practice before a new behaviour becomes a habit, create as many opportunities as possible for teams and individuals to practice living the new values.

3. Get leaders to show their support.

People believe what their leaders do,

rather than what they say.

Ensure your leaders show rather than talk about their support for the new values. This is symbolic leadership. To demonstrate their support, ask your leaders to:

  • Open workshops.
  • Provide a few words in the form of a quote on what the new values mean to them. Get them to present their quotes at a workshop, or put their quotes together with their photo in a company newsletter.
  • Get them to award prizes to people who were nominated for living the new values, and to shake the winners hands.
  • Get them to be part of a prize or a award. For example, the person who best lived the values for the month has a lunch with a CEO or senior executive.

3. Use competitions to measure and recognize team behaviours.


Hold monthly team competitions between departments, units and branches. As part of the competitions get teams to prepare an activity around living the new values, and get them to perform their activity in a monthly staff meeting.

Design competition activities in a way that gets teams to:

  • Get excited about living the new values.
  • Try out new ways of behaving to support the new values.
  • Practice living the value/values.
  • Provide feedback on what what they did to live the new values.
  • Recognize and reward teams for living the new values or completing activities around the new values.

4. Create a system to identify where the values are working and where they are not working.

Create a two way communication system so that you can get and give feedback about how people in different departments are experiencing living the values. For example create an intranet or Facebook type page. Encourage individuals to post their comments on their experience in living the values onto the intranet. For example get them to post comments about:

  • What is working well.
  • What isn’t working.
  • Barriers that prevent them from living the values. (This could include many of the issues you identified in task 6)
  • How they overcame barriers and lived the values.
  • Magical moments they experienced when living the values.
  • Their success stories.
  • alignment
  • Benefits they got when living the values.
  • New practical ideas on how they can live the values to benefit their stakeholders.

Post positive feedback that you receive from customers, managers or individuals in the organization about people they have seen living the new values.

5. Remove barriers that prevent people from living the values.

There are many barriers that prevent people from living their new values. These may include policies, procedures, targets, processes, or systems. While you may have identified many of these barriers in the previous step, people may highlight other barriers on the intranet that you may not have been aware of.

  • For example in one company, the new value was about 'putting the customer first.' Yet the company had a policy in place that call centre agents were not allowed to spend longer than 2 minutes on the phone dealing with customer issues. They were told to drop the calls if they couldn't solve the customer problem in under 2 minutes. This policy obviously prevented call centre staff from living the 'customer first' value. The policy was changed.

If barriers are left unresolved, your values roll out project becomes like a game of snakes and ladders - with the barriers (snakes) undermining the good work you are doing with your positive interventions (ladders.)

Set up a steering committee comprising senior executives, who have the power to address these issues. Each month, collect the issues that employees post on the intranet that prevent them from living the values. Bring these issues to the steering committee, get a resolution, and communicate this back to employees both via the intranet, and at future workshops or events.

6. Use recognition to create heroes


Actively recognize people who behave in ways consistent with the new values:

  • Publish stories and photographs of role models of the new values on the intra-net and in company newsletters.
  • Create a monthly award for individuals who live the values.
  • Get employees to nominate one another for living the values.
  • Award prizes in the form of certificates, cups, medals or points.
  • Get different leaders in the organization to award the prizes. This provides symbolic leadership.

7. Train middle managers on how to deal with employees who don't behave according to the values

Train your middle managers on how to coach employees who behave inappropriately:

  • Train managers how to talk to people whose behaviours go against the new values.
  • Show them how to coach these individuals in a way that builds them, rather than destroys them.
  • Show managers how their own behavior acts as a model to employees.

8. Align the organization around the new values

During the task on systems thinking, you saw that every element in an organization is interconnected. To prevent mixed messages from different parts of the organization confusing employees, ensure that every element in the organization is aligned to support the new values. This includes:alignment

  • Roles.
  • Structures
  • Rewards.
  • Performance management systems.
  • Goals. Targets.
  • Measurement systems - such as balanced score card...

(Use a tool such as The Change Puzzle Kit to identify all the organizational elements you need to align around the new values.)

9. Use creativity to build excitement around the new values.

The more creative you are in the way in which you work with values, the more positive energy and excitement you will build amongst employees.

To be creative, use a combination of senses. Get people to create, sing, draw, and act out the values. For example:

  • To show commitment. Get each person to dip their hands in paint and place a hand-print on a canvas. Then get them to sign their hand-print and state what they intend to do to live the new values. This becomes their 'commitment board.'
  • Create a theme or slogan for living the values. Use this theme on every communication. Use it in your awards and prizes.
  • Share success stories. Get teams to create a pin-board or scrap book where they pin or paste photos of happy customers, poems, actions they took, or inspiring comments about living the values.
  • Ways of showing an understanding of the values. Get teams to create or sing a song, create a play, or create a story or advertisement that shows what they would be doing if they were living the values.
  • Inspiration to live the values. Get teams to create their own motivational cards with their own sayings or quotations around each value. Get a graphic designer to design, produce and print these cards. Then give them as gifts to every employee.
  • Encourage people to capture magical moments – moments where they spot others living the values - and get them to share these on brag boards, pin boards or in monthly newsletters.

The more creativity and energy you inject into your values roll-out process, the greater the results you will experience.


You may also like:

  • change-puzzle-kitThe change puzzle kit Use the Change Puzzle Kit to align your organization around your new values. Use it to identify potential barriers that may prevent employees from being able to live according to the new values.
  • change-strategy-toolkitWinning the game of change A practical tool to help you develop your own values roll out strategy. Use the 64 cards to choose practical change management interventions or activities that will help you to achieve your values roll out objectives in your specific organization.
  • Change management for organizationsA library of practical articles, guides, diagnostic tools, case studies, dashboards and solutions to use when doing organizational wide change.

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