3. What is all the song and dance about organizational values?

Values have become a tick-box exercise with organizations thinking they need values, so they define them and display them as a pretty picture on the wall. What a waste of time and effort not to mention ignoring a possible great tool for improving business performance!

My view is that if you cannot capture the minds and hearts of your employees with your values, you are better off not having them at all!

So what do I mean by this last statement?

Firstly, defining values is a complex process that needs to be led by the business owner together with a few key staff members. It is not a free for all involving all employees.

Secondly, it is a process of carefully selecting values that make sense to a business and that will guide future behavior. It is not a dump of motherhood, and apple pie statements that make you feel good. If you can’t define values that make you unique and give you a competitive edge, then go back to the drawing board.

Finally, if you and your management team are not prepared to live by your values continually, then don’t have them. It can be tough to live by your values. You might encounter challenges where an employees or supplier does not fit with your values. You might find that your values conflict with a business decision you are about to make. What will you do in each of these scenarios?

So why have values?

There is evidence that companies or leaders that focus on their values are more resilient, more sustainable and more successful than their counterparts. Sounds a good enough reason to have values to me!

So what are values? They are the unseen drivers of a company’s behavior. They are based on core beliefs that drive decision-making. They drive the company’s core identity that needs to be fulfilled by all employees.

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