Integrating Values as a Way of Life

“The point of having a value driven organization is to focus on excellence,” said Mark Wallace, Fire Chief for the city of McKinney,TX.  “The outcomes you get when you put creativity and innovative energy of your employees to focus excellence is the basis of creating a value driven organization.”

As a driving force to highlight the city’s values, McKinney, TX (pop. 54,369) has implemented a successful SPIRIT program. The values are: Service Producing Quality Results Integrity Responsible Action  Innovation and Problem Solving Teamwork

ARTICLE | Jun 21, 2004

“The point of having a value driven organization is to focus on excellence,” said Mark Wallace, Fire Chief for the city of McKinney,TX.  “The outcomes you get when you put creativity and innovative energy of your employees to focus excellence is the basis of creating a value driven organization.”

As a driving force to highlight the city’s values, McKinney, TX (pop. 54,369) has implemented a successful SPIRIT program. The values are: Service Producing Quality Results Integrity Responsible Action  Innovation and Problem Solving Teamwork

SPIRIT promotes innovation, cost-savings, and communication between different levels of the organization and with other organizations.

“The program allows us to focus more on top performance without ignoring the lower end of performance,” said Warren. “It impacts everything we do.” 

The focus of values must be recurring at essential points.  These junctures are:

Ø  The hiring phase, where you recruit and  retain people who are committed to your organizational values.  According to Warren, the city hires based on core values as a value driven organization.  “When a prospective employee comes to interview, we share with them our values and that the organization expects for an employee to do their best, do the right thing, and treat people how they would want to be treated.  Based on those expectations, that person must decide if they want to hire us as their employer,” he said.

Ø  The gathering points like Key Up (monthly meetings to keep employees up-to-date), when a cross section of employees can see the values in action in other departments and explore opportunities to participate.

Ø  The promotional opportunities, when managers and employees can avail themselves of the opportunity to position their programs and departments as industry leaders at leadership meetings, Council meetings and city publications.

It has become clear that teamwork is essential for success and that the principles of the values in place should become a part of the city’s work ethic in order to permeate the organization at every level.

The results of the programs are measured first in the number of new innovative programs that have been implemented since the SPIRIT initiative began.  Each of those components contain results and measures unique to them:

P.R.I.D.E. (Promotes Resident Involvement, Development, and Enthusiasm):  In one year, two neighborhoods have successfully organized and begun work to improve their neighborhoods.

Community Policing:  A police presence among the community and at the library has greatly reduced mischievous incidents at the library, while making crime prevention efforts more visible in the community.

McKinney Purchasing Department generated additional revenue of $10,500. 

The Development Services and Airport Departments developed opportunities for residents to give input through open houses, online presence and extensive publication of meetings.  This will result in final products with greater buy-in.

Additional projects are in place for the city and the results will continue to unravel.

In continuing in this effort, the city continues to engage in monthly “Key Up” meetings, serving as a primary conduit for knowledge sharing, with front-line employees and supervisors providing brief summaries of their projects with opportunities for co-workers to ask questions.  During presentations, many other departments offer their resources or advice to enhance or improve those featured programs.  

For McKinney, SPIRIT is not a campaign, but a way of life.  With ideas being bounced around at Key Up, a kinetic atmosphere of innovation is building, allowing for an exploration of similar programs.

For more information, contact Paulette Owens-Holmes, Administrative Services Director at 972.547.7512 or email Powens holmes@mckinneytexas.org. The city of McKinney, TX is presenting “A Holistic Approach to Creating a Value Driven Organization” at the 2004 Transforming Local Government Conference in Reno, NV.  For more information on the above presentation and value-driven organizations, contact McKinney’s Fire Chief Mark Wallace.  Look for his presentation on www.ig.org.

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