In my interactions with companies, one of the growth factors I look into are their company values. I am often pointed to a piece of paper behind glass on the wall which state the company values. Values however are not worth anything unless they are lived out. When companies live out their values they have the power to transform the organisation.
“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” Roy E. Disney
When the values are clear then everyone in your business or organisation will know what is acceptable and what isn’t. Ultimately values will translate into your reputation. Values underpin the culture of an organisation. In order for them to become part of your organisational DNA they must be lived out. Values go to the heart of how you do things.
What are your values? Are your values just something hung on the wall or quoted in your corporate documents? When lived out, values guide your decision-making. Your values and beliefs are a lens through which your company will see the world. It is two way; your clients will see if you are a values driven company, which is becoming increasingly desirable.
“When values, thoughts, feelings, and actions are in alignment, a person becomes focused and character is strengthened.” John C. Maxwell
This not just true for the individual it is also true for the business or organisation. There are a few simple things to think about when creating the values which will underpin your workplace culture.
Crafting Great Values:
Often an organisations’ values will govern how people should interact with each other at organisational and team level. Values like thinking the best of each other, for instance.
Values have worth
Values are not trite sounding phrases. They should be behaviours or beliefs which the organisation and the individuals in it can stand on and own. Values help define the identity of an individual or organisation so are significant not trivial.
Clarity & Focus
Values attempt to clarify the distinctives of an organisation that drive its behaviours and actions. They need to be clearly articulated and agreed on. A word or short phrase should identify the value. For clarity describe what the value looks like when it is lived out.
Values, whilst reflecting desired behaviour within the business, should also be easy to remember. It may be that an acronym can be created to help with this. For this reason, the number of values you have should therefore be kept to around six as a maximum.
Values are foundational. The foundation of a building is the part upon which every other part of the building stands. The strength of the foundation determines the strength of the building. The same is true of values; they give stability to the team or organisation. Values are a part of the identity and allow newcomers to decide whether this is an organisation they can join. They can see whether the organisation or team values match their own values and beliefs.
When values are known, then decisions about behaviour within the organisation can be held up to a standard. Recruiting new people into the organisation can rely on whether those coming in align with your values. Whatever the shared values of the team are, for them to be adopted and used requires people on the team to be measured against them. In that way team members know these are things that matter.
There is much more that could be said. Successful businesses and organisations know and live out their values – it gives them an advantage in the marketplace.
As Kouzes and Posner state in their book The Leadership Challenge:
“Shared values are the foundational pillars for building productive and genuine working relationships.”
If your values need reviewing or creating book a 30-minute discovery call with me.