“If you stand for everything, you stand for nothing. To succeed, you must be crystal clear on what you stand for and what you will not tolerate.” —Tony Robbins
Recently, I volunteered at a local high school for the Junior Achievement Ethics Program, which highlighted the importance of protecting our organizational core values. These values, often listed alongside mission and vision statements, should be evident in a company’s culture, the ethical behavior of its employees, and its management decisions.
Discussing ethics with 15-year-old students can be complicated, but finding relatable scenarios helps. I had the students select values from a list and then presented EAPC Architects Engineers’ core values. I posed the same question to them as I had to our executive leadership: Are you willing to make tough, unpopular decisions to uphold these values? Can you prove it?
That exercise brings to mind a Tony Robbins quote: “To succeed, you must be crystal clear on what you stand for and what you will not tolerate.” In my 20-plus years in business, I have personally experienced the impact of organizations that actively demonstrate and defend their core values and those that struggle to rally support. The difference lies in senior leadership’s unwavering and resolute commitment to their core values, which inspires the entire organization to unite and work together toward success.
In Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek says, “The standards a leader sets for entry, if based on a clear set of human values, significantly impact people’s sense of belonging and their willingness to pull together and contribute to the team.”
I am grateful to the senior leadership at EAPC for allowing me to question and challenge them when it comes to preserving our core values. In return, I expect them to challenge me. By fostering a reciprocal respect, we can engage with students and the community about the importance of our core values—integrity, collaboration, commitment, and stewardship.
Kristen McReynolds, Director | Business Excellence | EAPC Architects Engineers