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Caterpillar’s Values and Leadership Guide

A list of the company’s values, and a description of what it means to be a leader at the company.

May 2, 2003
Related Topics: Corporate Culture, HR & Business Administration

Listed below are 1) each of Caterpillar’s values and the company’sdescription of what they mean, and 2) the company’s seven key leadershipresponsibilities and an explanation of each.

Trust--We believe everyone embracing the values of the division will do whatis best for the customer, each other, and the enterprise.

  • Acts consistently to reinforce our values.

  • Expects people to perform their mission and be accountable.

  • Demonstrates openness and honesty in business relationships.

  • Eliminates the fear of breaking away from familiar ways of thinking andacting.

  • Shares information freely in all directions, both good news and bad news.

  • Does not look for or assume motives beyond those stated by others.

  • Respects and honors matters of confidentiality.

Mutual Respect--We treat everyone with dignity and courtesy.

  • Makes everyone feel important and able to make a contribution.

  • Listens without interruption when someone is speaking.

  • Makes no distinction based on position.

  • Accepts or gives apologies when appropriate.

  • Recognizes the uniqueness of individuals.

Teamwork--We recognize the potential for teams to produce superior resultsover what team members could achieve as individuals.

  • Believes that teaming is the balanced involvement of all relevant functions.

  • Aligns personal work and team activities to optimize contribution to thedivision.

  • Accepts and supports team decisions after individual views have beenexpressed.

  • Resolves disagreements within and between work teams by doing what is bestfor the enterprise.

  • Contributes to the success of others by helping others solve problems, meetdeadlines, and work effectively.

  • Openly shares relevant information.

Empowerment--We believe people must work in an environment where they feelenabled to make decisions that contribute to customer satisfaction andperformance of the division.

  • Defines the boundaries of accountability and freedom to act, but remainsflexible to meet changing business needs.

  • Balances decision-making authority and responsibility.

  • Drives decision-making authority and responsibility to the lowest level ofcompetency.

  • Seeks and shares information with others on decisions that affect them.

  • Provides opportunities for employees to develop new skills, expertise, andperspective.

  • Understands how individual work impacts the division’s success.

  • Develops the capability of others through active mentoring and coaching.

  • Risk Taking--We accept and encourage informed risk taking.

  • Nutures risk taking in the workplace.

  • Recognizes failures associated with reasonable risk taking should not bepunished but used as an opportunity for improvement to the underlying processes.

  • Demonstrates the courage to speak freely and challenges the status quo tostimulate change and make decisions to move us forward.

  • Challenges prescribed methods and procedures to better serve the customer.

  • Recognizes the real risk to business success lies in not challenging andimproving processes.

  • Offers recognition for informed risk taking.

Sense of Urgency--We recognize time as competitive advantage.

  • Places a high priority on time. Delivers work on time to both internal andexternal customers.

  • Works to reduce time required to perform assigned tasks. Removes needlesssteps.

  • Errs in the direction of moving too fast rather than moving too slow.

  • Acts quickly to accomplish our goals and meet our commitments.

  • Assesses the situation and acts accordingly.

  • Responds to questions and issues immediately or as soon as appropriateinformation is collected.

Continuous Improvement--We recognize everything we do as a process that canbe eliminated, simplified, or improved.

  • Asks "How can it be improved?" rather than "Does it need to beimproved?"

  • Recognizes the value of change for improvement.

  • Focuses on problem prevention rather than problem resolution.

  • Evaluates changing technology and optimizes its use.

  • Recognizes redundancy and waste must be eliminated.

  • Eliminates unneeded processes (practices/systems) without concern for impacton specific job assignments.

  • Accepts self-development as a process that needs continuous improvement.

  • Recognizes processes as the key to performance improvement.

  • Makes decisions based on need or opportunity, not precedent.

Commitment--We deliver what we promise to each other and to our customers.

  • Recognizes action rather than rhetoric as the true measure of commitment.

  • Promises only what can be delivered.

  • Demonstrates personal commitment to continued learning and upgrading ofskills.

  • Communicates the impact of change to base assumptions used to makecommitments.

  • Accepts obligation to continuous improvement.

Customer Satisfaction--We delight our internal and external customers byexceeding their expectations.

  • Listens to customers.

  • Actively solicits input from customers for important decisions. Alwaysassumes the customer has something to contribute.

  • Always asks, "How can I better serve the customer?"

  • Responds with urgency to customers’ feedback, including both complaints andsuggestions.

  • Delights the customer with quality and service that exceeds competition.Increases customer loyalty to our products by always providing support.

  • Effectively represents the interests of the customers. Is willing to "go tobat" for customers.

Seven key leadership responsibilities and how we carry them out in a mannerthat supports our common values.

1. Develop people to their fullest capacity

  • I have a clear vision of what constitutes growth for the people I serve.

  • I work with employees to create written development plans.

  • I help employees master the skills they need to succeed on the job.

  • I give people freedom to handle work their own way.

  • I take time to show employees new ways of doing work.

  • I delegate assignments to help people stretch or broaden their skills.

  • I accept mistakes as part of the development process and help people avoidrepeating mistakes in the future.

  • I discuss career goals with each employee.

  • I provide honest, realistic answers to career questions and never makepromises I cannot keep.

  • I help people understand the skill requirements and selection criteria forother jobs.

  • I encourage employees to take advantage of internal and external educationand training opportunities.

  • I encourage people to make lateral moves to broaden their knowledge of theorganization.

  • I reward and celebrate developmental achievements.

  • I set an example for others by visibly pursuing a self-development plan.

2. Foster a positive work environment

  • I have a positive outlook.
  • I believe it is my job to help people succeed.
  • I believe that people want to work hard, do their best, and make a usefulcontribution.
  • I am friendly and courteous to everyone.
  • I say "thank you" to employees throughout the day.
  • I look people in the eye when I talk to them.
  • I call employees by their names.
  • I keep my promises.
  • I accept criticism.
  • I admit when I’m wrong.
  • I ask for help.
  • I give credit for good ideas.
  • I listen more than I talk.
  • I maintain a harassment-free work area.
  • I set high standards for quality, performance, and behaviors, and hold peopleaccountable to these standards.
  • I provide people with as much information as I can about our company, ourdivision, Cat products, competition, and other vital issues.
  • I help employees understand the value of the contributions they make. I talkwith employees about their families, hobbies, interests, and outside activities.
  • I encourage people to have fun at work.

3. Adjust leadership style to meet the needs of those whom we serve

  • I understand the four basic leadership styles: directing, coaching,supporting, and delegating.

  • I assess the competency level of each employee on my team.

  • I assess the commitment level of each employee on my team.

  • I use different leadership styles with different people.

  • I use different leadership styles with the same person, depending on theircompetency and commitment to a given task.

  • I change leadership styles as an employee’s or team’s competency andcommitment levels change.

4. Build and support committed and effective teams

  • I understand the goals of our company, our division, and our work group, andI have communicated them clearly to employees.

  • I appreciate the unique background, skills, and perspective each employeecontributes to the team.

  • I use the collective talent and expertise of the people on my team.

  • I help all employees understand their respective roles on our team.

  • I remind employees of our team goals.

  • I explain how our team’s results affect the entire division.

  • I work at building positive relationships among team members.

  • I encourage open communication on the team.

  • I encourage team members to share responsibility for team leadership.

  • I praise individual and team accomplishments and celebrate successes.

  • I share responsibility for winning and losing.

  • I support my team whether we are winning or losing.

  • I discourage behavior that weakens team morale and performance.

  • I encourage employees to serve on multifunctional teams.

  • I set an example for others by serving on multifunctional teams.

5. Empower others to serve internal and external customers

  • I keep people informed about the issues that affect the work group.

  • I solicit input from employees on decisions that affect them.

  • I provide as much information as I can about the work group, the division,and the company.

  • I explain how every individual’s work affects the organization’s success.

  • I challenge people to learn continuously.

  • I ask for ideas and advice.

  • I remove roadblocks.

  • I provide appropriate resources to get a job done.

  • I expect and encourage people to manage their own responsibilities and findtheir own solutions.

  • I trust people to make good decisions without my help.

  • I accept and support team decisions that are not made the way I would havemade them.

  • I allow people to fail, but assure that the failure is not devastating to theperson or the organization.

  • I provide adequate and appropriate training.

6. Provide feedback that helps people grow

  • Developmental feedback

  • I work with every employee to create a development plan.

  • I give positive feedback when employees show developmental progress.

  • I modify employees’ development plans as they reach their goals.

  • I give developmental feedback and performance appraisals at separate times.

  • I give developmental feedback more than once a year.

  • I ask for employee input in my personal development plan.

    Informal feedback
  • I say something positive to every employee in my group every day

  • I identify attitudes or behaviors that I would like to perpetuate.

  • I look for opportunities to reward behavior and performance consistent withOur Common Values.

  • I strive to reinforce positive behavior immediately after it happens.

  • I praise employees for specific behaviors or achievements.

  • I give positive reinforcement for everyday work effort--not just exceptionalperformances.

    Disciplinary feedback

  • I apply discipline consistently.

  • I meet privately with employees to discuss problems.

  • I try to resolve problems before they enter the formal disciplinary process.

  • I explain to employees what constitutes reasonable performance and behavior.

  • I tell employees why expected levels of performance and behavior areessential to our team.

  • I let people know when their performance or behavior is not meetingexpectations.

  • I explain what needs to be done to bring performance or behavior toacceptable levels.

  • I try to get employees to accept responsibility for changing their behavior.

  • I seek the employee’s agreement to resolve the problem.

  • I work with the employee to create an action plan for resolving the problem.

  • I clearly state the consequences of failing to meet expectations.

7. Pursue self-development

  • I have a written plan for self-development.

  • I discuss personal developmental issues with coworkers at all levels of theorganization.

  • I meet regularly with my supervisor to talk about developmental opportunitiesand progress.

  • I seek out new responsibilities and new approaches to problem solving.

  • I take advantage of internal and external education and training activities.

  • I accept lateral moves and cross-training assignments.

  • I use the 360-Degree Values Feedback Process to guide my development plans.

  • I take advantage of the Division Leadership Upward Feedback Process.

Reprinted from courtesy of Caterpillar Inc. Also with permissionfrom....AndDignity For All: Unlocking Greatness with Values-Based Leadership, Despain, J.and J.B. Converse, 2003. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Financial Times PrenticeHall.

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