Ten facts about values
- Values define an organization’s behavior, identified or not, every organization has values. An organization’s behavior is the sum of its values – often unrecognized, nonetheless very real. When you move to a new organization, your adjustment is primarily an adjustment to its values.
- Values guide decisions. Unconsciously people use values to influence the way decisions are made. To uncover your company’s values, assess the way it makes decisions. To get people to make the right decisions, teach them to embrace the right values.
- For every organization, some values are better than others. Not all organizations embrace the same values, nor should they; what is good for one organization is not necessarily good for another. Good values do not have to be original, but they do need to be authentic.
- Strongly upheld and clearly articulated values free up an organization to creatively and flexibly pursue its purpose and vision. Far from confining your organization, clear values actually set it free. They provide the protective barriers that keep the organization from self-destructive behaviors, that is, from behaviors inconsistent with its purpose and vision.
- Many conflicts in an organization are rooted in unclear values. Conflict is a healthy and normal part of your corporate growth, but conflict over values is much harder to reconcile. That’s why many mergers fail. People think they are arguing over brochures or something trivial when they are really arguing over values.
- Leaders often have little trouble trusting people who share their values. In reality, you can only empower people when you as the leader know that those you are empowering value what you value.
- Shared values generate trust. By the same token, clear values give your people a structure and framework that make them feel secure.
- When an operational value conflicts with a moral value, let the moral value win. Whatever your core driving operational value – process excellence, customer experience, product dominance – it will at some point conflict with your stated moral values. Don’t sacrifice a moral value to honor an operational value.
- A clear sense of values simplifies the task of defining a meaningful purpose statement. Defining your values can help you develop your purpose.
- Hiring most frequently focuses on talents and experience, with little concern for the person’s values, setting up the possibility for a serious values crisis. If you wonder why you are having difficulties with a recent hire, it may be that the person has not bough into the values of your organization. Or, they may be challenging some values that should be challenged. If you are clean on your values, you will be able to tell the difference.
CITE: GREAT LEADERSHIP: What it is and what it takes in a complex world by Antony Bell