I often find organisations that I work with have at some stage gone through the process of defining their company ‘values’. In time, the meaning behind these values drift away and lose their impact, if they haven’t embedded those values into an organisation with a set of well-defined and expected behaviours.
An organisation’s values and those expected behaviours need to be lived daily, through performance conversations, through team meetings and through everyday conversations.
In my book, Purpose, Passion & Performance – How systems for leadership, culture and strategy drive the 3Ps of high performing organisations, I explore the importance of having a well-defined set of values and how lived behaviours are a key-characteristic of a high-performance organisation
Purpose, Passion & Performance: CHAPTER 15
Defining company values and behaviours
If your purpose describes why you exist, how you are unique, and what you do, your values capture how you behave in the pursuit of your company mission.
“Values provide an essential moral compass to your business”.
They define what is important; what is of ‘value’ or considered valuable. Here’s the trick though. Values can’t be seen. We learn from each other what our values are by observing and experiencing the behaviours, attitudes, responses and practices that naturally arise during our inter- actions with people.
The behaviours you see are the indicators of the values held within. Therefore, for people to be meaningfully held accountable to a set of values or ethical standards, the behaviours that exemplify your values must be defined.
WHAT ARE VALUES?
The iceberg model is an oldie but a goodie for explaining how values are expressed. This model can be traced back to Edward T. Hall (an American anthropologist who was born in 1914) and is often called upon to explain how values work. Just like the tip of an iceberg, what is seen above the surface of the water is only a small proportion of what lies below it. People’s behaviours are the tip of the iceberg. What drives behaviour, the largest proportion of who we are, sits beneath the surface of the water – our thoughts and feelings, values and beliefs, and driving needs.
To read more about the systems of Leadership, Culture and Strategy that drive high performance organisations – pick up a copy of my book Purpose, Passion & Performance – How systems for leadership, culture and strategy drive the 3Ps of high performing organisations – or download the first Chapter FREE – below.
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