Carl Palmer – Choose your Company Values Carefully

Carl Palmer, Executive Chairman at CIS Security

In his Latest Blog for Carl Palmer, Exec Chairman at CIS Security writes on the subject of the importance of meaningful values for People in Security, and why. Carl writes “Company values, what exactly are they? Do you really need them? If you have some, do you make them work for you in the true spirit in which they were created?

“Company values are generally defined as the principles and beliefs that drive the behaviours of all members of an organisation. Our values have been with us since day one and pervade every corner of the business. I regularly ask myself, are we representing our values? Are they visible throughout the business? I can wholeheartedly say that our values absolutely influence the day-to-day decisions we make individually and as a collective.

“What are the CIS values then?

“Passion, Determination, Leadership.

“Simple as that.

“Someone once said in a meeting that we shouldn’t have values that are just one word long. Why on earth not? As a security guarding specialist, those values need to be remembered by every one of our 1600 employees whether they work for us for 3 days or 3 decades, whether English is their first language, or not. Our values are easy to remember. Easy to “get”. There is very little ambiguity in what we mean by them. They are all positive, confident, optimistic words.

“In my mind, they flow into each other and I can almost cycle through them in my head when sense checking our business actions to make sure they are aligned with our business strategy. Values are like a ruler you put against a line to make sure its straight. They are essential for consistently successful outcomes.

“Passion – My interpretations of this value is that we strongly and enthusiastically believe in our cause in the security industry, as peacekeepers. This strength of feeling makes us persistent, persuasive and always willing to learn and get better.

“I felt the strength of this value recently while watching our head office Receptionists setting up the Christmas tree. The care and consideration (and negotiation of creative differences!) in order to make it beautiful for everyone to enjoy was absolutely palpable. It made me proud that they were amplifying this value within our workplace community and towards our visitors. That sticky, contagious passion is exactly what I love seeing in our business. It makes me excited for the possibilities that lie ahead. Sales bids are another area that comes to mind. They are full of passion. Literally, an outpouring of the heart of our business, encapsulating the pride in our own work. Reading them always makes me happy.

“We have an incentivised initiative that is specifically designed to elicit passion in our people. To encourage storytelling about the things our people are passionate about and that help them express their personalities. This can be work related or not and as a result, we have seen a rich swell of passionate stories from our people. Our newsletter regales wonderful stories of charitable ventures, artistic accomplishments, everything from furniture restoration to local football coaching and more. People buy people, and those who can eloquently project their passion and personalities are the most desirable colleagues in my humble opinion.

“Determination – This word has two meanings, which beautifully suit our business. One of those comes back to the firmness of our purpose as a profession, to be a Force for Good. It also helps visualise the sheer grit required to succeed in any given professional scenario. Whether you are standing strong and calm in the face of volatile security scenarios on the front line, or even if you are at a tipping point in your business, struggling to lift your turnover from an uncomfortable plateau of stagnancy. Determination will get you through it.

“The second meaning relates to the process of working through something exactly by calculation or research. Synonyms include establishing, checking, verifying. Diligence comes to mind, which is an essential business virtue. Preparation inspired by the truths in a given situation.

“Our annual events are really something we have become known for. We have a glittering awards ceremony to spotlight our most outstanding staff members. The determination of the event team is always impressive. Anyone who plans events will know the work that needs to go on behind the scenes to make things run smoothly. The last-minute frenzy when the violinist can’t find a parking space, the wide-eyed, (but quiet!) panic when the sound doesn’t work in rehearsal. So much reactionary problem solving, like a swan with a determined face and furiously flapping feet, the team pull together, divide and conquer, make it happen.

“Can-do-attitude is a consequence of determination. Resilience, reliability and a desire to exceed expectations all fallout of this lovely value.

“The recent Christmas time roster challenges come to mind. A huge determined push is required to make sure all work shifts are covered so no premises are left with any security vulnerabilities. Our Operations Managers will be on the phone all day and longer until the last shift is filled and with backups and backups for the backups. Chasing and checking, our HR team vetting and verifying. “Getting it right first time”, another of our mantras is an expression of the symbiosis of the two meanings of just one of our values.

“Leadership – The act of leading, guiding, directing. Our industry is changing so fast at the moment, there is no time to rest on one’s laurels. Change of approach is regularly required to respond to the needs and wants of the modern security market. Not only do we need leaders at the helm of our business, we need our front line to exhibit leadership qualities. Confidently expressing themselves as experts who regularly observe and learn from their surroundings and peers, adapting to the changes they see and new risks they uncover.

“Active contemplation is needed in our leaders, innovation is the outcome and (assuming diligent testing is carried out regarding any new processes), bold, daring action is what makes us different and will make us stand out against our competitors. Increasing the number of women and diversity in security, for example, this is easy to say and harder than it looks but absolutely essential for a leading security specialist to prioritise. Leadership is for everyone who wants to be an example for others to follow.

“In our business, leadership comes into play when it comes to the setting aside of time for our Think Tanks. Our talented professionals, in a room for a whole day. It takes the significant authority to insist upon the attendance at a Think Tank over a potentially critical day-to-day meeting.

“The stage must also be set perfectly in order to get the best out of this key meeting of CIS minds. Passionate, out of the box thinking. The location, the themes, even the refreshments – all need to be a stimulus for creativity in a “no idea is to too crazy” environment.

“Reams and reams of glorious project pads and post-it notes, sparkling with ideas on the future of our company, our industry… what is done with them? Do we pile them up, file them, archive them into the “someday” drawer? No, we use our determination to swiftly work stream the ideas, allocating leaders, challenging them to grow our seedling ideas into great oaks. And the cycle of our core values continues. In my mind, it is like a ticking clock… passion, determination leadership, passion, determination, leadership…

“These are the values of our organisation. Is it too late to set your values? Absolutely not. Set them, mean them and use them. They will become your friends. Most importantly, don’t make them into lengthy tongue twisters, test them out on kids. If they are easy to understand and remember, they will have a chance of making a positive impact on your business.”