The purpose of organizational values is NOT to decorate the walls or to create new trinkets to hand out to employees. Clear and well-understood values create a framework that enhances personal and organizational performance by encouraging positive organizational behaviors.
The value of values is multifold. First, they improve consistency in decision making. Second, they provide boundaries and set expectations about behavior and what is or is not acceptable. Finally, values serve as guideposts along the journey, reminding people how to behave as they move forward to the future.
Three Steps to Values:
- Define – keep it simple and identify the behaviors you want from the members in your organization. Your values should encourage members to interact with people and approach tasks ways that produce positive outcomes for themselves and the organization.
- Align – stated values (what you say) must match operating values (what you do.) We’ve observed many organizations that are out of alignment and do not receive the benefits from the values they invested time in defining.
- Reinforce – stories and examples are essential to proactively reinforce the meaning of values. If an employee acts in a manner contrary to the intent of the value, the behavior must be addressed. Overlooking violations, even small infractions, begins to blur the true definition of the value and diminishes the value of values. Recognize and reward behaviors that support the values of the organization. You get more of what you celebrate, so intentionally reinforce the demonstration of values.
High performing organizations (and people) know what they believe and incorporate it into everything they do. Everyone, from top to bottom understands and acts according to these core values.
If you do not have well defined, operational values we encourage you to make the time to define them. If you have values in place, do an annual assessment to determine whether they are producing the outcomes you intended.
Contact Scott or Donna if you are interested in comparing your ideal culture to your current culture. You will see where your values gaps are and get strategies to address the gaps.