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 performance!

My view is if you can’t 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 owner/CEO 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 an organization 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 employee or supplier does not fit with your values. You might find that your values conflict with a decision you are about to make. What will you do in each of these scenarios?

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So why have values?

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

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

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