David Hoerman, the chief wisdom officer at DaVita, says, “Our beliefs drive our behaviors, which drive our results. When we all share the same beliefs, the right behaviors follow that benefit our patients, our business and beyond. We call each other on our behaviors that don’t align with those beliefs.”

DaVita’s revenue has exploded from $1.5 billion in 2001 to $12.5 billion last year.

DaVita: a 65,000 Person Corporate Village, or Just a CEO’s Nutty Dream? by Chuck Blakeman — Inc., November 11, 2015

There’s no question that this is a fabulous article, and a supremely inspirational story.

Also, I have a couple observations:


First, from David Hoerman’s quote (above) — no matter what kind of organization you’re in, beliefs always drive behaviors which drive results. It works this way in any business.

DaVita does two things differently: 1) They’ve made the invisible visible by translating beliefs into tangible actions that people can see and do, and 2) They actually “call each other on [the] behaviors that don’t align with those beliefs.”

In too many organizations the real beliefs that run the show remain invisible, or even if a company has them, the true culture isn’t one of holding people accountable to living them.


Second, DaVita’s stated values (Service Excellence, Integrity, Team, Continuous Improvement, Accountability, Fulfillment, and Fun), while clearly working for them, don’t provide a very good model for your organization. They’re too vague and definitely not verb-ish enough.

It’s much easier (some might even say better) to make your values a short descriptive phrase that starts with a verb. For example: “Find the &” (from my company) or “Create fun and a little weirdness” (from Zappos). It’s easier to measure, harder to mis-define across the employee population, and more directly tied to visible behaviors!


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