The U.S. Constitution is a timeless culture-shaping guiding light for our nation. Do you have a similar guiding light shaping your organization's service culture?
The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It is a glorious, timeless document that has guided the people of our country for over 200 years. It lays out the framework of the government, listing rights and responsibilities and how the country is to operate for maximum peace, harmony, accountability, and security… “in order to form a more perfect Union”. It is the Constitution of the United States that first shaped our culture- it describes what our founders believed in and valued, and what makes us special.
Hmmm….thats a pretty good idea!
Wouldn’t it be a great idea if your organization did the same? What if your organization had a framework of responsibilities and expectations to guide your employees and their supervisors “to form a more perfect union”? Better yet- how about a framework that also guides the leaders to ensure that everyone is working in the same direction? What if this framework was based on what your organization believed and valued- and it shared what makes you special? Would it begin to shape a service culture? A culture by design rather than a culture formed by default?
Alas! There is such a framework...and it is used by successful organizations all throughout the land!
In it’s most generic form, this framework is referred to as a “service framework”. A service framework is the foundation around which the entire organizational structure is built, and it helps to shape an organization’s service culture. When there is a question of how to proceed, when people are unsure of what behavior is expected of them, or when tough decisions are being considered, the service framework is the guiding light. Your unique service framework is made up of 1) your common purpose and 2) your quality standards.
This is a statement that shares your organization’s purpose for being. It guides decisions and actions. For example, at Disney Parks, the common purpose is, “We create happiness by providing the finest in entertainment for people of all ages everywhere”. This statement provides direction to cast members (employees) at all levels. And just as the preamble to the United States Constitution serves as a “true north” declaration of our non-negotiable principles, an organization’s common purpose serves as the “true north” of your organization. It is steadfast, never changing, and provides clear direction for all.
This is a defined list of values that will help you fulfill your common purpose. If common purpose is the “what”, then quality standards are the “how”. For Disney Parks, the quality standards are: Safety, Courtesy, Show, Efficiency. These standards are how the organization will achieve it’s common purpose. And just as the Constitution’s seven articles define how the Union will operate to realize the preamble, your quality standards define how your organization and it’s people will operate to realize it’s common purpose.
Yes, and just like the Constitution’s multiple amendments, your quality standards may change from time to time as you evolve as an organization and your market changes. At Papa John’s International, back in the late 90’s one of our quality standards was “focus”. Every decision we made from the ingredients we used to the number of offerings we offered on the menu was based on our standard of “focus”. So we served pizza, cheese sticks and breadsticks, and we did it well. Back then we had 200 stores and were growing a brand, so “focus” was an appropriate standard.
Yet, after the turn-of-the-century the restaurant market began to change. The market demanded multiple menu offerings from crust varieties to pizza toppings to brownies and cookies. We had to evolve. As we became less focused on one general item, we amended the standard, replacing “focus” with “superiority”. Our quality standards were amended slightly, but our common purpose: Better Ingredients. Better People. Better Pizza. remained constant.
What's Your Constitution?
Your constitution or service framework shapes your service culture and is a critical component of the way you do business. Common purpose and quality standards ensure accountability, clear direction, and focus. Do you have a glorious, timeless framework to guide your organization?
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Mike Donnelly leverages over 20 years of leadership experience at The Walt Disney Company and Papa John’s International as a recognized expert, keynote speaker, facilitator and consultant in the principle of building successful corporate cultures; focusing on talent selection, new employee orientation, leadership effectiveness and customer experience.