Posted on February 25, 2020
In this blog, I write about the how we defined and continually improved the culture at Intralase through adoption of a set of Shared Values, another essential element of the high-performance management system (HPMS).
For any continuous improvement system like HPMS to be successful, the organization’s leadership and culture MUST be open to change. Absent the right culture, even the best processes and tools will not be effective.
HPMS provides two methods to help manage and improve company culture: The first is through measurement and continuous improvement of employee satisfaction. The second is through development of and role-model behavior around a set of Shared Values. In some cases, the values represent a stretch in behavior beyond the current state and, as such, are transformational.
We developed our initial Shared Values at Intralase within our first “Success Tree”, or one-page strategic plan, in early 2004. We provided definitions, communications and training on the new values; we also incorporated them into each employee’s annual review and, importantly, ensured they were visible in each employee’s area of work.
Through these approaches and a total commitment to our Shared Values, we developed a disciplined and aligned culture that consistently performed.
Like most organizations leveraging HPMS, we placed the organization’s strategy, inclusive of Mission, Vision and Values, under an improvement lens on a regular six-month cycle. In this way we practiced what we preached; specifically, that nothing is etched in stone and that everything can be improved.
At one such session in early 2006, while brainstorming our current state, a disturbing element came up. We had reached the inflection point in our growth curve were running away with the market while our three competitors, after years of effort and millions invested, had each failed to make a single corneal flap. Overconfidence and arrogance were showing up in certain areas of the organization to a level that several individuals voiced concern. We knew our competitors would eventually get it right and didn’t want customers leaving to spite us in the future. After a great deal of discussion and some voting, we decided to add “Humility” to our set of Shared Values.
The notion that arrogance was a weakness and humility a strength resonated well within organization. Intralase already knew the importance of Shared Values and, with this new addition, seemed to embrace them even more. This value was transformational for Intralase, especially internally. We deliberately drove arrogance and arrogant behavior out of the culture leading to better teamwork, less waste and higher quality results.
I hope you enjoyed this short story on the power of Shared Values and HPMS. If you’d like to learn more about driving performance through a system like this at your organization, please reach out to us.