I've never blogged nor felt the need to - until now. It took a momentous occasion for me to take my maiden voyage into the blogosphere - the public release of our new Challenger company values!
As context, Challenger is a new company, formed at the end of 2018, and born from a carve-out of one of the highest performing business-units at Gartner. That business unit was responsible for helping Sales, Marketing and Customer Service organizations implement growth strategies, including implementation of the Challenger and Effortless Experience models.
One of our first ambitions as a new company was to capture and memorialize our core values by Spring 2019. We made it. I'm very proud of a team that has perfectly captured what makes (and has always made) this place so special. We'd now like to share some of our secret-sauce publicly.
The importance of values
Our Challenger products and services are unparalleled, but these values are the reason my fantastic colleagues and our partners shine like they do. Our values are why customers love working with us. We've worked hard to make them robust and jam-packed with goodness.
Values define the people you have, the people you want to attract, and - in professional services - exactly how you'd want customers to describe interactions with you and the partnership they signed up for. With that in mind, I challenge myself and all of my colleagues to live our values to the fullest each day.
How we built our values
You might be interested in the process we followed to finalize and memorialize these… and you might notice the process itself embodies much of what we value. We broke it into five parts (shared below). I’d recommend something similar for others trying to create values for the first time or even when going back to refresh existing ones. (For your benefit, we've included timelines and stakeholders involved at the end of each step)
- Form a diverse “tiger team” to drive the initiative with Exec support. Study any past values used by your company, business unit, or teams. What do you love, what do you want to carry forward? Determine what is stale or irrelevant in your new context. (2 weeks, led by a Tiger team with cross functional/geo/product-line representation. Big props to my colleague Lauren Pragoff as lead Tiger!)
- Talk to employees… all of them. What do they see in themselves and their colleagues when they are at their best? On days when they jump out of bed eager to work, why? Note, often you find as much inspiration from brand new employees as you do from those who have been with you for years. You'll also discover other insights about your company and your people that expand beyond just values. (4 weeks. All-employee survey co-led by our HR/Talent team and our Research team. Analyze the data across relevant sub-populations)
- Talk to your customers and other stakeholders in your supply/value chain. Ask them the same questions you asked your colleagues with regards to why they love working with your company and your people. (3 weeks, interviews with relevant customer stakeholders from representative companies in our Ideal Customer Profile. Follow-on analysis of our past two years of customer-survey feedback. Synthesis conducted by our analytics/research and Tiger team)
- Distill your list and description of values, then study your mission and vision for your business. Will a team with those values get you from here to there? What are you missing? (half-day working session with the Executive team and Tiger team leads)
- Capture your top 3-5 values with adequate color and description to bring them to life for all. (Executive team and HR/Talent team)
- Blog about them
- Live them and celebrate them every day to the best of your ability.
- Make them visible in the office.
- Reward those who demonstrate them. Use your employee recognition program to highlight your values in action. Have the company name the employee(s) who best embodies the values and send them on the President’s Club circle trip!
We welcome a healthy response and reactions to the values (and no doubt the process we followed). For our full mission and values statement, click below. #CHALLENGERLIFE
Contributor Simon Frewer
Simon is the CEO of Challenger, the world’s leading Performance Improvement Solution provider for Sales, Marketing and Service organizations. Simon led the carve-out of the Challenger business-unit from CEB/Gartner. Prior to his current position, he held leadership positions in Corporate Strategy and Management Consulting. Simon received an MBA from Kellogg at NWU and a Bachelors of Commerce from McGill University. He lives in Washington DC with his wife and two children.