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1 - Synovus Financial Corporation: “Just take care of your people”

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 July 2010

Edward D. Hess
Affiliation:
Emory University, Atlanta
Kim S. Cameron
Affiliation:
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
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Summary

Introduction

The Synovus Financial Services Corporation uses an extensive systems-wide approach to values-based leadership. By system-wide, we mean that values-based leadership permeates the entire company. Values are the basis for leadership, culture, selection, training and executive development. Values are used to shape the firm's strategy, its relationship to customers and to community. Senior executives consistently talk about values and culture among themselves and with employees at all levels. Values-based leadership is tangible – it is part of evaluation and promotion systems. Values are transformed into practices. While core values stay the same, senior managers are consistently updating practices. Values are discussed as much as strategy.

Our purpose in this chapter is to chronicle how these values extend back in history, what the values are now and how Synovus implements practices to support or operationalize its values. Synovus is an example of the founding families' values surviving four leadership successions, and a company flourishing financially because of its values-based people-centric culture. Some of the lessons to focus on while reading this chapter are: (1) you can achieve great financial results, create substantial shareholder value AND be an employee-centric company with values; (2) maintaining a values-based culture is hard work and can never be taken for granted; (3) senior leadership must live daily the values they want emulated and be role models for all levels of leadership; and (4) you have to back up the words by rewarding good values and recognizing cultural deviations.

Type
Chapter
Information
Leading with Values
Positivity, Virtue and High Performance
, pp. 9 - 28
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2006

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