Values

Organisational values drive the way people influence, how they interact with each other, and how they work together to achieve results. Organisational values are not descriptions of the work they do or the strategies they employ to accomplish their mission. They are the unseen drivers of behaviour, based on deeply held beliefs that drive decision-making. The collective behaviours of all employees become the organisational culture – “the way we do things around here”.

This promise lies at the core of the organisation’s brand, the essence of its identity, and must be fulfilled by employees.  Those employees who actively fulfil that brand promise, by embracing and living out the organisational values, are the true brand ambassadors. The relative number of brand ambassadors in any organisation is an important indicator of organisational health

Poor alignment between the values of an organisation and the personal values of their employees, translates directly into poor performance. This, in turn, impacts negatively on the quality of deliverables – and the organisation’s financial performance. Conversely, when the values of the organisation are aligned with the personal values of employees, the result will be a high-performance environment with high levels of employee engagement and the pursuit of excellence for the benefit of the organisation.

Most organisations have identified values but for many, they are restricted to wall plaques and induction handbooks, far from the hearts of employees. This disconnect points to leaders who are not empowered to model the values through decision-making and behaviour.

From the perspective of organisational transformation, leaders must create platforms and the room for their teams to make the connection between the organisation’s values and their personal values. This is imperative if leaders want to ensure that their team is able to adjust to the new situation and the changes in what is expected of them.

Pros

  • A strong personal connection to the values of the organisation increases the ability to make faster and better decision aligned to the ethos of the organisation at all levels.
  • Values-based leadership increases the authenticity of leaders and inspires teams to go above and beyond, particularly in times of change.

Cons

  • Many organisational cultures evolve in a haphazard way. Consciously creating a specific culture requires effort and the continuous focus of the leaders.
  • Investments (time and money) must be made to develop the mindset, skills and tools to create a values-based leadership culture.

Recommended resources:

Becoming the Best: Build a World-Class Organization Through Values-Based Leadership, Kraemer Harry M. Jr., 2015, ISBN 978-1118999424

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