Clear and agreed-upon values can keep an organization and its people on track. Values provide guidelines for decision-making and behavior, and answer questions like, “What do I want to live my life by and how?” But the values need to be clearly described and consistently acted upon to be beneficial. They also must resonate with the personal values of those working in the organization, and they must support the organization’s purpose in order to be relevant. To become cemented in the organization’s culture, everyone must be held accountable for living up to and demonstrating the companies’ values in their day-to-day actions.
A strong, positive set of values allows companies to recruitment employees with aligned values, provides existing employees with clear guidance as to behavioral expectations, and motivates employees by promoting a sense of belonging and pride in the company.
It is important to understand, however, that values do not drive the business; they drive the people within the business. Values must be internalized by the people in the organization to have meaning. To that end, your organization should select values that represent the company’s highest priorities and deeply held driving forces.
When selecting values and creating values statements, don’t fall into the trap of having so many values that they become meaningless. Research by The Ken Blanchard Companies has shown that people can’t focus on more than three or four values in their work environment.
Also, make sure your values are rank ordered. Rank ordering is important because it establishes a priority that will guide decision-making and behavior, especially in a situation that involves conflict and choices between alternatives. By involving employees in the process of determining values and by limiting the number, then rank ordering the values, organizations will find they create buy-in as well as the behaviors they want to see.
The values meld together to form your corporate culture. The values of your senior leaders are especially important in the development of your culture. These leaders have a lot of power in your organization to set the course and environment and they have selected the staff for your workplace.
If you think about your own life, your values form the cornerstones for all you do and accomplish. If you are truly living your values, they define where you spend your time. They do the same for your organization.