Survey of GMAC Results Using Six Value Medals for Decision Making

Michael Campbell, Internal Change Management Consultant in Organizational Development for GMAC, was a member of the first group of people accepted to certify in Edward de Bono’s Six Value Medals in 2007. He was a standout participant at the time, and it did not surprise de Bono Consulting’s CEO and Six Value Medals Master Trainer Barbara Stennes to see Michael emerge as the most active internal Six Value Medals instructor in her de Bono trainer network.

To date Michael has trained more than 150 GMAC employees in GMAC’s Six Value Medals courses. He is rapidly spreading the use of values to impact decision-making and to strengthen the assessment of innovative ideas. In 2010 he is also working to refine the virtual delivery of the Six Value Medals course.

As part of Michael’s design for the transfer of learning to on-the-job performance, he encourages participants to send him the results of their first follow-up applications using the Six Value Medals tools. To make this easier, Michael devised an electronic document that steps users through Six Values Medals sessions and prompts them to document the focus, output, and any decisions made. Participants also describe discoveries, lessons learned, and plans for using Six Value Medals in the future. This article surveys the experiences documented by GMAC Six Value Medals users.

A Brief Introduction to the Six Value Medals Framework:

Gold Six Value MedalGold Medal: Gold is precious, and so are an organization’s people. The gold medal asks, What matters to our people? How will this decision affect our people? Human values include pride, achievement, a sense of belonging, hope, trust, and growth

Silver Six Value MedalSilver Medal: Silver impacts the organization. What matters to the organization? What are our goals as a company, and how will a prospective action help us or hinder us in pursuit of these goals?

Steel Six Value MedalSteel Medal: Steel must be as strong as possible. What are the implications for quality? How will the decision at hand impact the quality of what we do?

Glass Six Value MedalGlass Medal: Glass can take the shape of many functional, often beautiful and colorful objects. The glass medal covers change, innovation, simplicity, and creativity. What can we do to foster creativity and innovation in our organization? What changes in products, services, or internal processes could we try out?

Wood Six Value MedalWood Medal: Wood spotlights ecology values in the broadest sense: nature, ambience, community, political climate, etc. Who or what outside the organization might be affected by this? Is there a positive or negative impact if we take this road?

Brass Six Value MedalBrass Medal: Brass looks like gold but is not. Brass medal values take into consideration appearances and perception, our image and reputation. How will this action be interpreted? What will people think?

In the values-based decision-making work that GMAC employees completed, a variety of real-world issues were addressed. Below is a sampling of these issues along with some of the thinking produced by using the Six Value Medals framework. In the interest of brevity—and, at times, confidentiality—only one idea per medal per focus is shown; however, many additional points were recorded and impacted conclusions.

Focus #1: Integrate departments within the organization

Silver: Reduce expenses by eliminating redundancy in stand alones  (positive value)

Gold: Reduction in staff due to leveraging of resources/expertise (negative value)

Steel: Improve channel-specific products by understanding success/failures of other departments (positive value)

Glass: Identify new markets through cross knowledge (positive value)

Wood: Increase charitable contributions with combined operations (positive value)

Brass: Appearance of proactive decisive company (positive value)

Conclusion: Move forward with the project

Discoveries: “Sometimes it is difficult to examine and come up with all the particulars …. Also, one or more values may be negative, meaning when we looked that direction, we saw consequences that would produce negative results.” Laurie Smith, (Vice President, Personal Lines Claims)

Focus #2: All field reps must drive a hybrid vehicle

Silver: Higher initial expenses for the company (negative value)

Gold: Employees happier with what they drive (positive value)

Steel: Estimates for damage will be more accurate because the FCR will be more focused on doing a good job since they are happier (positive value)

Glass: Employees encouraged to think about ways to be more eco-friendly in their jobs (positive value)

Wood: Economy is boosted with such a large purchase of vehicles (positive value)

Brass: Great PR for the company which would now be seen as eco friendly (positive value)

Conclusion: Based on the values, the project should continue. It is an overall positive value.

Plans for the Future: “I will use the Six Value Medals in the future whenever I’m making decisions – whether it be at home or at work.  I tend to only look at Gold and Brass.  This has now helped me broaden my mind to other factors that definitely play into decision making.” Dina Pember, (Internal Brand Manager)
Focus #3: Should call center stop selling product X

Silver: Rental expenses will decrease (positive value)

Gold: Frustration/Apprehension of call center staff (negative value)

Steel: Better communication about process for customer (positive value)

Glass: Have a robot to handle the claim (positive value)

Wood: Employees on road more would create more pollution from vehicle usage (negative value)

Brass: Will take longer to serve customers and they may see us as difficult to work with (negative value)

Conclusion: This is something we should explore and implement.  We should review the Wood Values and see how we could create more positive values there …

Learnings: “[Using the medals] helps us take a proposal and think of issues and impacts for everyone involved and then be able to assess what steps should be taken.  It gives a “big-picture” view to analyze.  It gives us negatives to review up front so we can create action plans to lessen the impact of those negatives.” Robin Moore, (Claims Manager)
Focus #4: Impact of Eliminating Company Cars

Silver: Significant cost savings

Gold: Eliminate need for rep to have to keep up with company car maintenance when they already have 1 or 2 other vehicles of their own to maintain/drive

Steel: Ability to reallocate capital to areas where it is needed

Wood: May increase company’s ability to give to charitable organizations due to savings realized by not having company cars.

Brass: Investors see the move to eliminate company cars as a positive to bottom-line results

Conclusion: Silver/Steel were the two dominant values. The other values were each a net low positive (almost neutral). This proposal would seem like something senior mgt may want to consider in the future if expenses continue to rise.

Learnings: “That all values need to be equally considered and then prioritized according to their overall impact and importance to the focus statement objective. The framework makes it easier to be open minded to all ideas, values, and the variety of people involved directly and indirectly in the decision making process.”  Scott Douglas, (Claims Manager)

After reviewing all of the data generated by participants applying the Six Values Medal framework back on the job, Michael makes these observations:

“People have a lot of aha moments as they use the framework and often I hear ‘I never thought of that’ or ‘I didn’t realize there were these points.’ They’re able to make much stronger decisions after using the framework. In groups, one key benefit is that the people involved are able to get everything out on the table at one time, both positive and negative, by going through each medal. People are more committed to the final decision since their ideas were considered and they helped review and prioritize all of the values that influenced the outcome.

“I’ve also learned that practical uses of the Six Value Medals go beyond work. Many people report either using or planning to use the tools to sort out family decisions, plan a job search, conduct discussions at church meetings, manage community affairs, and so on. People observe that they have more confidence in the decisions they make because there is less likelihood of running into unwanted consequences they haven’t anticipated.

“Before I learned about Six Value Medals, I certified to teach Lateral Thinking, Dr. de Bono’s tool set for generating innovative ideas, and this is what prompted me to explore the Six Value Medals. We needed a way to assess and prioritize the many ideas we’re now able to generate. We only have a finite ability to implement so SVM helps us make the best choices.”