Wednesday, October 12, 2016

leadership dot #1594: ISMs

After reading Simply Brilliant*, I was curious to learn more about the ISMs that Quicken Loans uses to define its statements of philosophy and values. The ISMs are 19 statements that outline what kind of behavior is valued at the company, including: Yes before No, You have to take the roast out of the oven, We eat our own dog food, and A penny saved is a penny. You can see them all here.

I'm not sure why they are called ISMs, but they pack a powerful punch in driving the company's culture. One reason the ISMs are more than a piece of paper is because the company's founders, Dan Gilbert and Bill Emerson, personally conduct day-long orientation sessions every six weeks for all the company's new hires! I have never heard of such a commitment from top leadership to instill their values in new employees.

In their program, called ISMs in Action, they bring the philosophy to life through skits, examples, stories and all methods of communication. By the time people leave, they know what it meant by the ISM: "You'll see it when you believe it."

Quicken Loans illustrates the value of values that do more than adorn the walls. When you truly define what is important and how you wish people to act, employees utilize those guideposts to determine fit in hiring, to create cultural norms in line with leaders' expectations and to drive behavior that leads to powerful results.

Quicken Loans and Netflix (tomorrow's topic) are the "brilliant" examples, but you can take a lesson from them for your organization or your piece of the whole. Committing to value your values is a valuable strategy that achieves results.

-- beth triplett

*see yesterday's leadership dot #1593

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