You can trumpet your organization’s core values and unshakable ethics. But your actions will influence what employees think far more than your words.
Case in point: Joseph Perella, co-founder of Perella Weinberg Partners, prepared to promote a manager. But then he learned that this otherwise top-performing executive had behaved inappropriately with a female employee.
Perella decided to stop the promotion in its tracks. He concluded that he’d undermine his company’s commitment to live by its principles if he overlooked the inappropriate behavior.
Perella, a New York financier, realized that promoting the executive would send the wrong message to the rest of his staff. Women in the office might question the firm’s values and figure that its leaders did not care how they were treated.
Perella doesn’t put much stock in mission statements. To craft a strong, he argues that leaders need to model with their actions what they want others to think and do.
For example, the firm received a call on Saturday from a European bank that requested a proposal the next day. Senior partners mobilized to meet the deadline, sacrificing their weekend by rushing to the office and mapping out a plan.
The firm won the account. From their bosses’ actions, employees more fully appreciated that they operated in a culture intensely devoted to excellence.
By modeling the kind of hard work he expects from others, Perella and his team have built a fast-growing firm that manages about $9 billion in assets and advises businesses on a range of financial issues.
— Adapted from “Joseph Perella and Peter Weinberg: Secrets to a Successful Partnership".