Have corporate values become a fad? Again! Most organisations now have a set of core values; unfortunately, in most cases they’re bland and fail to reflect the reality of how people behave, rendering them meaningless. If businesses are unwilling to accept the ongoing work needed to embed real values, why do they bother going to the time and trouble of formulating them?
If a business is willing to invest the energy in creating values in the first instance and firmly belief that these values are going to contribute to future success, they need the backbone to hold everyone to account, ensuring that they live and act by them, every day.
A set of values should provide an aspirational framework for behaviours and attitudes that underpin:
- Why your business exists (your reason for being)
- How you intend to fulfil your strategic goals (providing a framework for decision making)
- What you and your people will do in practice to fulfil your strategic goals
We’re not big fans of re-inventing values for the sake of it however, it’s important to note that although certain values may have contributed to past success, they may not be as helpful as you move into the future. Things change!
The True Importance of Corporate Values
Values need to provide employees with a sense of security that “this is the place I feel comfortable working” and that “I know how I’m expected to behave”. Values should be there as a filter for decision making and ultimately, differentiate you from your competition.
Values need to make sense to everyone in the business, from the cleaner to the chairman, and be consistently understood and applied. There are too many 4-word values posters in businesses that everyone can cite but that few can explain in the context of their roles and how they should ‘show up’ on an everyday basis.
If you want to join other organisations and have a set of values, make sure they’re real, unique and that you have the courage to see them through; they’ll make a difference if you let them!