It was the surprise #1 single hit on both the US and UK pop charts in February, 1966. And, if I remember correctly, These Boots are Made for Walkin’ truly was Nancy Sinatra’s single hit. But it was a big one! The You Tube video version of Nancy’s hit (with over 18 million hits in 2013, by the way!) would even make Miley Cyrus blush for a moment.

Boots have made a big comeback in recent years. But I’m not so sure they are made for walkin’ as much as they are worn for stylin’.

Sometimes, I wonder if the same is true with core values.

When it comes to core values, every leader needs to ask the question … are they made for walkin’ … or are we just sliding into them to look good.

Years after Nancy Sinatra’s hit, technology would introduce a whole new kind of boot. A reboot. Technology doesn’t walk. It runs. And, in the midst of running, sometimes things get messed-up. A reboot creates a fresh start. Ideally, a new beginning. Reboots are intentional. In the midst of a reboot some things are lost … yet, at the expense of a greater good.

Just as with technology, organizations keep adding on and on and on … update after update after update. You know … Band-Aid fixes all along the way. An initiative here and a new program there. If you keep changing the lights in the factory often enough … there is no change at all. And every “factory worker” knows it.

I’m sure you’ve had that experience where you are sitting at your computer and finally make the decision … I just need to reboot. Reset. Restart.

You just have to call it for what it is … and just do it.

Reboots are like drawing a line-in-the-sand. And if all goes well, the problems of the past are not brought forward. They are left behind.

When core values are introduced simply as another add-on … as another update … they fall flat. Seldom, if ever, do they make much of a difference. They are lost in the blur of the run. In the midst of writing ROI: Return on Integrity, this has never been more clear to me.

Core values demand a complete reboot. And regardless of what has been done before … you have to start completely over. It is not complicated.

Turn it off. Wait 30 seconds and then turn it on again!

Reboots are not vague. You don’t unintentionally turn-off your computer. It is a conscious and intentional decision. You are very clear that you have to fully stop before you can start again.

When you reboot, you must be patient. All systems are in the midst of restarting. Not just some, but every single one of them. When it comes to core values, the same is true in organizations. Every single person has to reboot. No exception. You can’t reboot a computer while parts of the operating system or certain individual programs insist they keep going. And you don’t reboot part of the computer with the idea of rebooting other parts of it later. No … everything reboots as one complete process of stopping and then starting again.

Nor does a computer restart with its individual programs. The restart fully demands it begin with its operating system. And so it is with core values. Leaders set the pace of the new beginning. It is their fresh start that makes all the rest possible.

To be effective, reboots demand the past be left behind. In a core value reboot, linking back to the past undermines the start of the future. Reboots put the past off-limits.

That’s not to say past behavior doesn’t creep into the present. This is precisely why a reboot is critical. It draws a line in the organizational sand as the one and only reference point. Actions and decisions of the past are no longer relevant. Yet, from that reference point, it must be clear that reboots are made for walkin. From that point forward it should be understood that the actions and decisions of individuals, that are contra to the rebooted core values, don’t demand another universal reboot.

They demand an individual delete and reload.

And just like with a reboot, that doesn’t mean for just a few … it means for everyone. Yet, long before that point, it all begins with that intentional reboot for all.

Are you ready to reboot? Then start walkin’.

Today’s post is the featured article from the August 2013 issue of The Front Porch Newsletter. If you would like to automatically receive The Front Porch e-newsletter on the last Thursday of each month just click here to sign-up for your complimentary subscription.