By Toni Halleen |
Recently I hung a poster on the wall above the receptionist’s desk at our law firm, and I was almost singing with excitement. Why? I don’t get out much, that’s true. But also, I was excited because the poster lists our firm’s ten “Guiding Principles.” These are the values and strengths we bring to our work as a team to serve our clients and each other. They are:
- Be a voice for victims of illegal discrimination
- Make careful, strategic decisions
- Offer the highest quality representation
- Take a holistic approach to solving problems
- Focus on career development
- Create a fun and respectful work environment
- Seek balance in the many aspects of our lives
- Be as inclusive as possible
- Share responsibility for outcomes
- Celebrate our success
Many organizations have similar statements, which may be expressed on a poster, in a handbook, a brochure, or even on a pocket card or a medallion (as I received at one of my former employers). I kept that medallion on my desk so I could look at the company values from time to time as I did my work. It provides a focus, because we can’t be all things at all times.
Many of us can become cynical about company values, and that’s understandable when the values are not lived. But setting goals and expressing aspirations can be critical to an organization’s (or individual’s) success.
Why are these statements important?
Stephen Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind.” He explains that to have a successful business, we must define what we’re trying to accomplish. This can apply on the personal level as well.
When I teach seminars, I always begin by asking the audience to think about what they would like to “take away” from the class. What are your objectives? How do you intend to participate in this venture together and why? For me, it helps to have a visual, like a poster, a pocket card, or a medallion.
How to make goals come to life?
Covey says all things are created twice: first, the mental creation, and then the physical. By setting goals, and by saying them out loud, writing them in a notebook, or printing them on a poster, we put the first manifestation into place. The next step is to understand how our goals might apply to daily work, and then to commit on a personal, individual level, to endeavor to live those values. Putting the goals into practice (taking action) forms the second manifestation.
I am proud of our guiding principles at Schaefer Halleen, and I am reminded of our goals every time I pass the poster on the wall.
Engaging others is what inspires Toni Halleen. With over 25 years of employment law experience, Toni segued her impressive corporate career into the management and administration of the highly regarded law firm of Schaefer Halleen. Prior to becoming an owner of Schaefer Halleen, Toni spent 11 years at The General Counsel, Ltd. (The “GCL”). Before that, Toni spent five years as an in-house employment lawyer for a leading telecommunications firm, and an additional eight years practicing employment law at one of the Twin Cities’ top law firms.