Do Your Corporate Values Keep You on the Right Path?

Do Your Corporate Values Keep You on the Right Path?
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Do Your Corporate Values Keep You in the Right Path?
We know from assessing organizational cultures that in some organizations, company values are monitored, lived, and rewarded as they help people to make important day-to-day performance and behavior decisions.  In other organizations, company values are just empty words and slogans. We believe that corporate values set forth company-wide guidelines for desired workplace behavior.

Do Your Values Have Value?
Do your espoused corporate value clash with the way leaders and employees really behave?  When values are thoughtfully selected and meaningful, they can be the foundation for a healthy corporate culture.   When values are not lived, especially by high performers, they create cynicism and politics at work.

How to Evaluate Your Current Corporate Values
To test that your corporate values are believable, actionable, and true reflections of the culture you are trying to establish, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Handling Challenges
    Consider how your organization responds to challenging situations. Do you depend on corporate values to guide and make sense of your responses?
  2. Decision-Making
    Think of times you lacked enough data to make a critical decision and, instead, had to rely on feelings or instinct. Were the decisions you made without facts to guide you aligned with the values you espouse?
  3. Talent Management
    The employee experience matters.  Are your hiring, development, performance management, succession planning, engagement, rewards, recognition, and retention practices aligned with your values?
  4. Level of Maturity
    While corporate values certainly have more staying power than strategies that shift annually, some values that made sense during the start-up phase may need a refresh as a company scales.  Do your values make sense based upon where the company is headed?
  5. Leadership
    New layers of leadership and management can often cause a disconnect between aspired and lived values.  Are the majority of your leaders (especially your high performers) modeling your corporate values?

If the answer is “no” to any of the questions, you have some work to do.  As a leader it is your job to shape your culture to best drive your people and business strategies forward.

Why Values and Culture Matter
We define culture as how things truly get done in an organization. It can be measured by understanding the way people think, behave, and work.  This includes the values that drive key business practices and behaviors.

  • A recent Harvard Business School research report described how an effective culture can account for up to half of the differential in performance between organizations in the same business.
  • Our organizational alignment research shows that cultural factors account for almost 40% of the difference between high and low growth companies.

Time to Revise Corporate Values
To operate at your peak, you need corporate values that truly define the expected rules of the road.  Otherwise, company values are empty and do little to frame how you do business.  What we know is that when values are at odds with your culture, people and performance suffer.  Smart leaders define and live core values to improve organizational health and alignment.

When values and culture are aligned, work is accomplished much more smoothly.  Daily decisions and behaviors are driven by a framework of values that have integrity, meaning, and purpose.

The Bottom Line
As a business leader, it is up to you to shape your culture so that you and your employees are firing on all cylinders.  Are your values clear and consistent with the way things get done at your company?  Do your corporate values help you keep on your chosen path to success?

To learn more about how corporate values keep you on the right path, download A Purposeful and Aligned Organizational Culture – Your DNA for Success

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