Article Details

The Value of Values

What you will get: Reflections on the benefits of company values


“What’s the value of your company values?”


Values mean everything.
Values mean absolutely nothing.
And everything else in between.


You see…


Most companies have values.


And sadly, from my experience, more often than not they mean nothing.
OK, so the company paid a lot of money to some consultant to help create the values.


And then even more money to put them on a beautiful plaque in the reception.


But what do they actually mean in terms of daily behaviours?
What do they mean to each employee?
What do they mean to customers?


Quite often when I ask my clients about their company values, at best they can remember what they are (or they can look them up on the internet!)


But what’s the use of that?


As I see it…


In order to be useful, company values need to be fully integrated into daily behaviours.


They are used actively in meetings.
They are the deciding factor in key decisions.
Employees live, breathe and feel the values every day.


So why is this so often not the case?


Well, the interpretation of values is a very individual thing.


Let’s take an example – RESPECT.


If you were to write down 3 words that clarify the value of Respect to you, what would they be?


And if each member of your team did the same, would the interpretations be the same?


No they wouldn’t! (I know this as I have done this activity hundreds of times on my training courses)


So just by stating that your company value is Respect will mean each employee interprets this in different ways.


So how do you overcome this?


By defining the value and then attributing a specific behaviour code to it.


For example:


Value: Respect
Definition: In this company we ask staff to respect themselves and others equally
Behaviours: We arrive on time to company meetings, we do not interrupt each other, we keep our promises, …and so on.


Now the value of Respect is beginning to mean something.


In fact…


One way to review where your company values are at currently is to use the 5 point values scale:


1 – Unknown (you know the company has values but most people can’t remember what they are)


2 – Stated (the values are clearly stated and everyone knows what they are)


3 – Defined (not only do employees know what the values are, but they also know what they mean)


4 – Aligned (the values have been broken down into specific behaviours so there are consistent employee behaviours in line with the values)


5 – Fully Integrated (employees live, breathe and feel the values and they are an active part of daily life including meetings, presentations, recruitment, performance reviews and decision making)


So, if you were to rate your company on the values scale, where are you at right now?


You see…


Values are a vital part of company performance and success.


They define your company.
They inspire your employees.
They guide your decisions.
They send a consistent message to stakeholders.
They ensure you stay true to your purpose.


But only if you know what they are and what they mean!


I’m off to go live my company values, how about you?


To your success.








Steve Neale
“Europe’s Leading Expert on Personal and Professional Growth”


Psychologist, Executive Coach, EI Practitioner, Award Winning Trainer, International Author, Psychodynamic Therapist, Hypnotherapist, Mindfulness Instructor, International Speaker, Creator of the LPS, Creator of the Accredited Masters in High Performance Leadership

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