Personal core values. What’s important to you, leader?

My Personal Core Values - People, Simplicity, Transparency, Performance

Personal core values

Companies have core values, leaders should too – Personal core values. Many organisations spend a lot of time trying to figure out from their teams what is important to the organisation. What are the principles and norms that the team can relate to? These core values should give employees of the organisation guidance, stability.

Have you ever thought of doing such an exercise on your personal profile? Wait a minute, why would you do that? For me, it was quite simple. I needed to understand what is really important for me. What do I focus on in my daily leadership work? What values can people stand on? How can I become clearer as a person, as a leader?

I decided to share my personal core values so people can look them up and take me at my words. Like a user manual for me.

What’s important to me, Michael Maretzke?

The reflection and thinking phase – which took me some hours spent across a minimum of 3 months resulted in my core values.

For me, the personal core values are real values, no phrases.

These are People, Transparency, Simplicity and Performance – short: PSTP.

Personal Core Value #1 – People: What do they mean to me, Michael Maretzke?

People do their best. they grow. shine. make mistakes and learn. We are these people – we all have strengths and weaknesses. People – our employees – are the organisation. Every single person has individual characteristics, views, needs, fears, desires, motivations.

Most people are reflective enough to see a higher value for themselves and behind their work – the purpose. Some maximise wealth, others sell insurance, others optimise business processes. Everyone operates according to their own value system. Important for everybody is the “Why?” Why do I get up every day and go to work? People need purpose to deliver highest performance.

In addition to a sense of purpose, these people are driven by the opportunity to address problems and solve them alone or as part of a team. These head people feel comfortable when they can work in a self-determined manner – autonomy. Unlike on the assembly line, it’s not about optimising repetitive processes, but creativity and cleverness are required.

When these people pursue their work, they want to get better at the specialty they are pursuing. They want to master their field – mastery.

People and their leaders

The role of the leadership team is to enable a creative, creating organisation to do this. To this end, the leadership team ensures that everyone in the organisation understands what the organisation is striving for. Why are we doing all this? Once the direction is clearly understood, it is consistently corrected and communicated accordingly. OKR’s are a participatory model exactly for this purpose. Employees contribute their individual knowledge to the collective of the organisation. Through intelligent corporate goals, the leadership team ensures that the framework is set wide or narrow enough for the organisation to move in the desired direction.

Once the direction is clear, the leadership team ensures that staff have enough space to contribute. Mistakes are allowed and encouraged – only from mistakes will individuals and the organisation learn. Successes are confirmation, mistakes are learning opportunities. Through this freedom, staff take responsibility and relieve the leadership team. The leadership team can devote itself to other, more important topics. The experts work on the implementation and solution of the assigned tasks.

Person-centred and participative leadership models turn away from the Taylorist “command & control” model of leadership and focus on developing the employee – coaching. One – if not the – central task of the leader is to help the employee grow. Provide guidance at the right time, don’t intervene too early, avoid catastrophic consequences, but always stay on the edge of the comfort zone. Coaching enables optimal, individual development of the employee – towards readiness to take on bigger and more valuable tasks.

People who work in creative, formative organisations want to contribute, they want to be challenged and encouraged. Recognising this – and then implementing it successfully – is extremely important to me.

Without purpose – no buy-in from staff
Without buy-in – no contribution
Without contribution – no success.

Michael Maretzke

Personal Core Value #2 – Transparency: What does it mean to me, Michael Maretzke?

Transparency in communication is a key element in creating understanding. This understanding leads to wider acceptance of policies, rules, restrictions, strategies and other conditions that management needs to communicate to a wider audience. This knowledge, the background information, is an important prerequisite for an environment of trust. I argue that transparency leads to trust – and trust is, after all, one of the essential building blocks of an organisation.

Even in situations where the news is catastrophic for individual team members – for example, when the need to restructure the company leads to job losses – you should be transparent. Transparency in such cases gives people who remain in the organisation confidence in the leaders.

Be cautious! I am not saying that everyone needs 100% of all available information at all times. Of course, there are differences in the degree of transparency depending on the target group. But the information that is relevant to the target group must be communicated as early as possible.

Personal Core Value #3 – Simplicity: What does it mean to me, Michael Maretzke?

Simplicity affects both the structure of an organisation and the development of technical solutions. 

An organisation must be simple in order to be understood. Only when employees understand their role and their tasks, when they know where their area of responsibility ends and where the area of others begins, can they give their best within the organisation. Simplicity enables them to understand their position within the organisation and the impact they can make.

Technical solutions tend to be over-thought and over-engineered. Take the simplest solution to your problem, forget the gold rim solutions. When working in a team on possible solutions to complex or complicated problems, I think it is always advantageous to choose the simplest solution with the least necessary complexity. The focus is on solving acute problems, not anticipating future problems. If you aim for the smartest – and most likely more complex – solution possible, you invest now in not-yet-known problems of the future. You may solve the problem, but you may not. Point taken: simple solutions will probably need revision or perhaps even replacement in the long run, but you still gain time acutely. You solve the problems of the future when they are known and actually occur.

Personal Core Value #4 – Performance: What does it mean to me, Michael Maretzke?

Performance here means: Impact on the organisation and technology. 

Normally, an organisation acts in an economically oriented way and strives for profit. The outcome of an organisation depends on the willingness of people to go to their limits – and beyond. Outstanding organisational results require a high level of commitment from people. They drive the organisation to perform at its best. They want to give their best to achieve the best for the organisation. Results, as quickly as possible. Striving for success. A good way to drive an organisation to peak performance is to implement OKRs well.  

In technology, performance means optimising a system to produce customer value as quickly as possible. A high-performing system delivers web pages to the user as quickly as possible, it also delivers finished developed functions to the user as quickly as possible using continuous integration or continuous delivery, it also uses methods and tools to help developers write high quality code in the shortest possible time. 

In both cases, organisation and technology, it is all about the right mindset. Strive for performance to get as much real value or result as possible from the system.

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