I've recently been running some workshops looking at core values, both personal and work based. It's an area of organisational culture that I'm quite passionate about.
Why all this talk about values?
Our digital world drives our love affair with technology and spews constant superficial information at us. Fake news, celebrity and sporting player obsession now dominate our mainstream media. The bad news bears feed us little to be happy about and this proliferation of information, immediately on our iphones, tablets and televisions, is overwhelming.
This rapidly changing world has driven many to search for more meaning in their lives, to be part of a bigger conversation. Your team members want to have purpose in their work. They want to be heard and to have their opinions validated. They seek identity.
By allowing employees to explore their values in a workplace setting, and in turn leaders knowing and understanding the principals that their workers live by, a more engaged and inclusive culture can be created. In this type of environment, respect, communication and collaboration all happen more easily. Its the real deal.
Whilst discussing company core values during these workshops though, I've sniffed a dangerous amount of cynicism out there regarding how some workplaces view core values. ( here's been a bit of eye rolling going on during some of the initial discussions I have to say!)
Because too many organisations parade their company core values front and centre but do nothing to embed them or live them whilst ensuring that their employee's own values are in sync.
The values organisations do have in place are so descriptively generic that noone cares or is interested anyway! Borrinnggg!!!!
Any company that wants to get an "A" for disengagement is guilty of either or both of the above workplace sins.....And yes!...It is all far too common.
As Andrew Marty so aptly describes in a recent article, without regular review and instilled supportive happening behaviours in the work place to support and back these values up, they aren't worth the laptop they are typed on. End of story.
So here's the thing...
Identifying, living and breathing these behaviours are the crux of the culture message: "...how we do things around here." And if you get it right, your business will benefit. Deloitte, amongst others, have found that as well as creating far more engaged employees, customers and clients also increasingly seek to do business with organisations who share their own values.
So how do we embedd some rocking values you ask?
Allow your staff to spend time thinking and discussing with eachother and their leader what their own values are, what the principals are that they live by. This will help you gain an understanding of your staff better and they and their colleagues will benefit from the experience.
Form diverse groups from throughout your organisation to identify what the behaviours that drive performance and culture should be in your workplace. Mix these groups up as much as you can and source facilitators from non leadership roles. The positive outcomes of creating these diverse groups will surprise you. It is these behaviours that will form the breathing, pumping soul of your culture.
Group these behaviours together and choose a value descriptor to tie each bundle together. Encourage the groups to think dynamically and authentically when ascribing a value name. Choose the most appropriate value names for the 4 -5 values you collectively choose.
Allow your groups to develop a set of actions and timelines to support the roll out of the core values.
Make it happen!
Review, review, review. Are these core values still appropriate? Are there others to add on? Most importantly, is your organisation, from leaders downwards, living, breathing and recognising the behaviours that make up these core values on a minute to minute basis? Reward success. Highlight often and publically those that are demonstrating the behaviours that matter.
The work and time you invest in a personalised, collaborative approach will be worthwhile. Your employees will thrive in an organisation that cares, and your clients and customers will respect your organisation much much more readily.
Need a hand to roll out a stellar values and behaviours program in your organisation? Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.