A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of working with a young financial services company on their values. Part of my process is to look at company values if you have them and ask questions around them, or if you haven’t got them to help you develop your company values. Why? Values have huge impact particularly amongst the new generations joining the workforce. Gen Y and Gen Z want to see what your company stands for. Look here at what has been said about values in an article 20 years ago.
“When employees sense that a leader’s decisions are at odds with company values—even when they’re not—they are quick to conclude that the leader lacks personal commitment to the values. He’s seen as a hypocrite.” (HBR Nov 2002 Amy C. Edmondson & Sandra E. Cha)
This statement shows clearly how a CEO and the employees can put a different interpretation on the values. It is why it’s important that all the employees in your organisation not only know the company values but also what they look like as they are lived out.
Values are not something you type up, put behind glass in a nice frame, and put on the wall. They are not just something to be recited if asked. For company values to mean anything at all they must be lived out. Your values drive your culture; if you don’t like your team or organisational culture then could it be your values which are the issue?
Values Underpin Culture
- Values are a set of deep-seated principles which drive company, team, or individual culture.
- Values only have impact if they are lived out.
- Values must be owned by everyone in the organisation.
- Values must be modelled by the leadership, leaders go first.
- Values should be one word or a simple phrase. Ideally, they could form an acronym.
- Values should be clearly understood. What does it look like when your values are lived out inside the organisation and externally with the various stakeholders you work with?
- Have no more than five or six values; it’s not possible to remember more. To live them you need to be able to remember them and so must your clients.
“Living into our values means that we do more than profess our values, we practice them. We walk our talk—we are clear about what we believe and hold important, and we take care that our intentions, words, thoughts, and behaviors align with those beliefs.” Brené Brown
The pandemic has created time and space for many of you to think about your values. If you haven’t done so yet, take a look at your values. What is important about them to you? Are they still true? Are they being lived out by every person in your organisation?
Back to my clients from the beginning of this blog. Their desire is that their clients feel like part of the family. As we worked through their existing eight values, the founders whittled them down to five core values that spelled out the acronym “ICARE”, quite a coincidence!
Well thought through and owned values will transform an organisation and it’s interaction with all stakeholders. The opposite is also true.
To work through your company or organisational values give me a call here to see how I can help you create your best culture.