It occurred to me that I don’t recall if any of my previous workplaces had values as a part of their organizational DNA. I don’t remember it ever being a part of a conversation or something, which was referred to in daily operation. And they are all very big companies that have a major impact on the world around them.
The majority of companies today have a set of values listed – either on their website, in the company handbook or on a wall somewhere in the office. But I wonder how many, like me, who are actually able to recall the values of their company if asked? My guess is not very many.
Maybe my previous work places have values, but they were never brought to my attention. And then they might as well not exist at all. Values are only worth something if they are lived by the organization. The purpose of having values in an organization is to guide behavior. They help establish some shared rules for what kind of behavior is valued and expected in the specific organization you are a part of. They help employees make decisions.
That in return creates greater organizational harmony, increased happiness in employees, better decision-making and higher performance. Last year CMI (Chartered Management Institute) published a large study on how the morality of managers relates to performance, and it showed that strong ethics and high levels of organizational performance go hand in hand (See study)
And just as important living your values help customers gain trust in the business, because they know what it stands for and what they should expect.
(And yes, it can be scary to be held to a standard – but that is a theme for a different blog)
I recently interviewed a leader from a company, which is truly value driven in all areas of their business. This business is a bank, and they have introduced many initiatives to ensure that their values are lived, understood and cherished by all their employees. I would like to share one of their small practices, which you can implement today to bring the values of your organization to life – go here.