Are values a waste of time or a powerful driver for you and your organisation?
Values are important as they articulate what you believe in and are the principles that guide everything you do. They guide behaviour, actions and decision making at an individual and organisational level.
They make life easier for you; you can review your options against them and by living them fully you ensure you achieve the outcomes you want.
Too often they are a waste of time
In many organisations the stated values are simply a waste of time for this reason. Stop an employee in the corridor and ask them what the values are and they will not be able to recall them.
Even if they can remember them, the extent to which they are being lived (applied in practice) and measured (how you are tracking against them) is often negligible.
The same goes at an organisational level; the extent to which an organisation actively uses their values to guide decision making is rare.
The problem stems from two factors.
Passive not active
Too often values are passive; they are displayed on the office or boardroom wall under a meant to be inspiring picture (usually someone running a race!) rather than believed and lived or used to define strategy and decision making on a daily basis across an organisation.
Values like Respect, Leadership and Innovation sound great, but what do they actually mean for every person in the organisation in their day to day roles.
How to use values to drive you and your organisation:
The key is to involve all staff, stakeholders and external audiences in their development. They must be owned by the group not assigned to the group.
Having established what the values are, the key is to identify what they look like in practice i.e. if you genuinely believe that Innovation is a key principle for your organisation what does it actually look like in practice. What would a client be experiencing if they were to experience Innovation? And what would a staff member be doing to deliver it?
As individuals and teams you need to regularly measure your success against each value and ask the question “what else can we do to live this value (bring it to life) in our organisation”
If the employees don’t see their managers demonstrating the values – forget it! Pack up and go home! You are wasting your time, money and effort.
A question for you
What values are fundamental to your organisation that by living them every day will help you become the type of organisation you want to become?