Many organisations make substantial investments of money and time to have their people engage with the company’s values.
However in many cases, after having made this investment, things seems to continue on in a ‘business as usual’ kind of way. Eventually, the only evidence that there is a set of values is the company website and framed posters on the walls.
At best the values fade into the background without anyone noticing, but more often cynicism creeps in about how the leadership and management of the company are not really serious about their stated values.
What’s required to have the values alive ?
Values must translate into people’s behaviours. The way the leadership team works together, a manager behaves towards her/his reports, customers are treated, staff behave towards each other, suppliers are interacted with – all need to reflect your company’s values.
A key factor in having the values alive in people’s behaviour is identifying and resolving any barriers (personal and organisational) that constrain your staff authentically taking on the values as their own. An example of an organisational barrier is when someone has been promoted because they produced results but their behaviour was inconsistent with the values. This leaves people cynical and cynicism can be a major constraint to people’s willingness to adopt. Obviously, if you are serious about your values, then the criteria for promotion needs to include behaving consistent with them.
To have values alive requires rigorous management and reinforcement of acting and behaving consistent with the values until the foundation of the organisation’s culture are it’s values.
A possible definition of the word culture is: the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, behaviours and practices that characterises an institution or organisation and that is shaped by individual, group and organisational world views. There are four areas to attend to in managing the creation and maintenance of a values-based culture, each of which we will go into more detail about in future blogs:
STRUCTURES – such as meetings/agendas/emails/schedules etc.
PROCESSES/SYSTEMS – such as performance management process/CRM/On boarding etc.
AGREEMENTS – formal (such as contracts) and informal (everyday promises and requests).
STRATEGIC AREAS OF FOCUS – areas that if focused upon will enhance the organisation’s capacity to operate true to its values.
As a leader are you doing the work you need to do with yourself and others to have your company’s values be real?