Practicing our values weekly
At Turner Laser Systems, we prioritize practicing our values consistently. As part of this effort, I have the pleasure of sending out our Strive and Thrive Weekly Practice email to our entire company at the start of each week. Since we are a small company, I’m also able to write these reminders on our white boards in each office. These reminders are intended to promote the behavioral and mindset practices that align with our values and culture. They often are about things we've learned from the books we've gone through together or training on our values in the past.
Then during our weekly company meeting on Fridays, we dedicate the last five to ten minutes to sharing our challenges or triumphs from our practice, on a voluntary basis. Everyone including the CEO get to share as they see fit. This practice helps us reinforce our company's values, which include Quality, Mastery, Integrity, Creativity, and Humility.
For example, this week's exercise focuses on reflecting on how to stay within our integrity when faced with an undesirable outcome. Instead of blaming others, we practice accountability by asking ourselves questions such as: What could I have done differently? What could I have done to improve the situation? What can I take responsibility for?
If you also want to give this a try, it is essential to note the importance of fostering a psychologically safe space during these practices. We find the following ways effective in such an effort: We emphasize keeping a student-mindset, focusing on learning rather than judging, and acknowledging that practice is about progress, not perfection. For example, we may be asked how we would do things differently next time, and sometimes the answer is, “I don’t know. I gotta think on it.” That is totally acceptable because we understand we learn through practicing, and it takes time.
We keep the share short and sweet, preventing overthinking and lessening the fear of dominating one person's share for too long. We deliberately keep this to the end of the meeting so that we can keep it concise.
Leading by example is another critical element of our culture, as people pay attention to what leaders say and do. Our CEO models authenticity and humility, setting the tone for the rest of the team. It’s not uncommon to hear him admit how he has not done something well, and then commits to how he is going to do better.
These consistent weekly practice also helps create a safe and supportive environment where people can openly ask for suggestions, leading to a culture of continuous improvement. I'm deeply encouraged by the transparency and vulnerability of our team, which builds trust and synergy within the company. I have immense admiration and respect for everyone here and am proud of the work we do to uphold our values and cultivate a positive work culture.
About Christina Lim