How to Choose and Live the Right Values for an Organisation?

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Graham Williams
Management Consultant, South Africa

How to Choose and Live the Right Values for an Organisation?

Values are being revisited in many organisations - yet few manage to select the right values and then anchor them in their culture as virtues. Often because they simply don't know how. Other causes include:
  • WRONGLY CHOSEN VALUES. Getting onto the vision and values bandwagon, organisations end up with values that are expected rather than what is core to their principles and their underlying assumptions. There is a sameness about them. They represent what is basic to being in business rather than an exciting differentiation (like Zappos).
  • CYNICISM. There are major behavioural disconnects from stated values (VW, Barclays, BP to name a few) that raise cynicism about stated values in general, and question their sincerity and authenticity.
  • WRONG INTENT. There is a stampede to join the ‘purpose economy’. Businesses see profit potential in embracing a higher purpose. They recognise that this can be a magnet that attracts talent and customers, enhances reputation, fosters engagement. Firms with a genuine motive (like Patagonia), are the exception. Purpose simply cannot be properly implemented without living the accompanying virtues.
  • PRESSURE TO UPHOLD REPUTATION. Sustainability challenges prompt organisations to “up their good citizen game", and some adopt a ‘radical adaption’ approach - but again without the support of entrenched virtues.
  • INCREASING DIVERSITY. Increasing diversity in the workplace puts pressure on organisations to develop cultures, values and behaviours where people are valued and looked after, and where differences become a strength and not (as is too often the case) a source of disharmony and discontent.
  • NOT COPING WITH RAPID CHANGES. When the pace of change overwhelms, and things are done too quickly, then the result may be lower quality outcomes, harmed relationships, loss of community, and lack of interest in the values.
IMPLEMENTING AND LIVING THE PUBLISHED VALUES
What underlying beliefs and assumptions, ways of converting stated values to character virtues, and visible symbols, artefacts and processes will determine whether an organisation will succeed at living their published values? Do the answers lie in:
  1. More ethical and benevolent leadership;
  2. Distinguishing between types of values (core, threshold, general);
  3. A change process that develops shared core values and seeks to align organisation and employee values;
  4. Attaching behaviour indicators to decided values;
  5. Special methods and techniques for anchoring chosen values in the culture;
  6. Techniques for individual behaviour modification and reinforcement, measurement and appraisal mechanisms;
  7. Other?
I'd appreciate your experiences and thoughts.

Sources:
Williams, G; Fox, P and Haarhoff D., "The Virtuosa Organisation: The Importance of VIRTUES for a Successful Business", Knowres Publishing 2015
Chouinard, Yvon, "Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman", Penguin Books 2006.

  Gandhi Heryanto
Management Consultant, Indonesia
 

Bringing the Organization Values to Life

Here are 4 ways how to implement and live the publ (...)

  Graham Williams
Management Consultant, South Africa
 

Bringing the Organization Values to Life

Thank you Gandhi. Clear, good input! By what proce (...)

  Gandhi Heryanto
Management Consultant, Indonesia
 

The Process of Creating Organizational Values

@Graham Williams: As we know that a company’s core (...)

  Graham Williams
Management Consultant, South Africa
 

Process of Values Creation

Thank you Gandhi. My own preferred approach is lik (...)

  Javier Elenes
Business Consultant, Mexico
 

Active Top Management Support of the Values is Key

A key issue in successful implementation of a comp (...)

  srinivas
Lecturer, India
 

Also take Into Account System Related Values and Human Behavioral Values

If we also take into account the system related va (...)

  Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands
 

Implement the Right Values from Scratch

I know what I am going to say is not very helpful (...)

  Charles Alter
Consultant, United States
 

Finding and Living Values and Purpose

In my experience, Jim Collins' Good to Great is th (...)

  Steve
Business Consultant, South Africa
 

Refreshing the Value System

I would add to the list of ideas: - Engage Employ (...)

  Ozioma Afakwu
Student (MBA), United Kingdom
 

Apply All Prescribed... Thanks

Thank you for sharing this and thank you for all t (...)

  Graham Williams
Management Consultant, South Africa
 

Apply All Prescribed... Thanks

It's wonderful to get this sort of response - an a (...)

  Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands
 

How to Choose and Live the Right Values for an Organisation?

To learn more around this topic, you might also ex (...)

  Maurice Hogarth
Consultant, United Kingdom
 

Right Values or Valuing Right

The question asks about the "right values", as ind (...)

  srinivas
Lecturer, India
 

Change of Priority in Choosing the Values

I suppose depending on the context, the priority i (...)

  Graham Williams
Management Consultant, South Africa
 

Right Values or Valuing Right

Some thoughts for your deliberations: In an a (...)

  Graham Williams
Management Consultant, South Africa
 

Change of Priority in Choosing the Values

I like your thought-provocation @srinivas! You've (...)

  srinivas
Lecturer, India
 

Change of Priority in Choosing the Values

I agree righteousness is a complicated subject. C (...)

  Graham Williams
Management Consultant, South Africa
 

Change of Priority in Choosing the Values

@Srinivas: Thank you srinivas! Incidentally - I've (...)

  Paul Pretorius
Management Consultant, South Africa
 

A Powerful Contribution

@Javier Elenes: This approach links the whole valu (...)

  Graham Williams
Management Consultant, South Africa
 

Change of Priority in Choosing the Values

@Srinivas: I think your insight and contribution i (...)

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