Our values underpin all we do. Here’s how we developed them.

We want our communities to be proud to buy locally made products. Manufacturing is so important to our economy.

We believe in this passionately and know we can only deliver this for clients if our team are aligned on our values which support this vision.

We know that a team with mixed values will always struggle to realise its purpose.

Making the change

I believe Kettering has always had strong values but until recently we never attempted to write them down.  So we got together and wrote them down.  As it turned out, we were mostly aligned as a team, but this could be better.

Without a proper integration plan for these values we failed to move them to the centre of our thinking.  The test came 6 months later when I was put on the spot to name them and struggled. 

At this point I realised we need to up our game. 

We brought the team back together and went deep on what we actually believed in.  Not what we felt we should believe in.  Nothing made it on to the list without solid evidence we were living these now. 

Then we saw the results

For the last 12 months we have pushed the message of our values constantly to the team through all our communication and we see significant benefits. 

Here is how we have been using them

Our values underpin all our big decisions. We ask ourselves, is doing or not doing this in line with our vision and values? 

When hiring, our values are the most important consideration.  If you are smart and share our values, you can work here.  If you don’t share our values, you can’t. We can teach systems and process and our way of doing things, but we can’t teach someone values.

Living these values daily means we call out behaviour that doesn’t fit our values and anyone can do this.  It is encouraged.

Here are our final list of values and what they mean to us

Communication – We communicate proactively and openly

This means:

  • I communicate even when I have nothing to say
  • I practice EASY communication that is:
    • Early – We don’t wait to contact someone. We are proactive.
    • Appropriate – We think about how we communicate. If communication isn’t flowing, we try a different method, for example, we pick up the phone when email might be easier but isn’t the best option.
    • Specific – We avoid being vague especially with dates and times.
    • Your Responsibility – It is everyone’s responsibility to communicate. We can’t control others so if communication isn’t happening, we need to make it happen.

Communication is our number one value for a reason.  Nearly every problem we have seems to come back to poor communication.  Poor communication can cause the simplest task problems.  Excellent communication is critical to solving the bigger issues we face.

Teamwork – We work together to achieve the best results

This means:

  • I trust the team
  • I speak up
  • I respect everyone I work with
  • I share my knowledge

Without a strong team, Kettering is just a bunch of smart people who know a lot about manufacturing and ERP.  As a team, we can make significant positive impacts to our clients. 

I’m a big fan of Patrick Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a Team.  To us, being a strong team doesn’t mean agreeing with each other, it means we trust each other enough to speak our mind to achieve our team goals.

Accountability – We take responsibility for our actions and outcomes

This means:

  • I keep my commitments
  • I am on time
  • I focus on outcomes, not intentions
  • I get the training I need

This links back to teamwork.  Lack of accountability is Lencioni’s fourth dysfunction, but we felt it deserved special mention.

Our team is made up of experienced professionals with different skills.  We rely on each other and as a professional, I need to make sure I am prepared and taking full responsibility for the results. 

Agility – We are flexible, delivering results without sacrificing quality

This means:

  • I am focused on the customer need
  • I respond quickly
  • I get the job done

Manufacturing has entered an age where agility is key to success.  To support our clients, we need to be at least as agile as them. 

This doesn’t mean cutting corners though.

Fifteen years ago when we started we had an element of cowboy culture.  Being responsible for billion-dollar company’s ERP systems, this is completely unacceptable.  We can still be flexible though.  An approach for a multinational does not always make sense for a single site operation with less than a hundred staff.

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