Most businesses of any size take time to carefully create their mission and their values, and to promote these to employees and clients.
Employees are expected to live the company values and more and more, key performance indicators tend to incorporate these goals. Customer Satisfaction Questionnaires and Employee Engagement Surveys also reflect the mission and values in order to develop and enhance the corporate identity.
Values are often found up on the walls as a reminder – in Reception areas, the cafeteria and meeting rooms. They serve as a quick prompt for clients and staff alike that this is what the organisation is about.
Even with all this activity and investment, only a very few companies actually deliver on their mission and the values they promise at every level of the organisation.
What is it that makes the difference?
- Congruence – walking the talk
No matter what our company mission or values are; how we behave towards our clients and our staff day in day out is what really matters. Corporate values are vital. They give everyone clarity – what to aim for, what we stand for. But, they are just words and words alone count for very little unless we embody those words in everything we do.
When we create our mission and our company values, we have to be congruent with them and live them ourselves at a personal level day in day out.
We must also ensure that our values are congruent with our commercial aspirations.
- Alignment – what’s in their hearts
It is not always easy for employees to take company values to their hearts, despite all efforts from the business. Employees often find it difficult to adopt them, not because they are negative people, or wrong or disloyal even.
Often the reason people don’t or can’t live the company values with the conviction we would like, is because they feel that at some level they would be going against or setting aside their own values or needs in some way in order to do so.
When an employee can feel directly and personally aligned to the corporate values, there is trust, understanding, motivation and a real energy to live and breathe them.
The most successful organisations understand these two factors and you will see their mission and their values running through everything and everyone like a word running through a stick of seaside rock.
The litmus test: get someone independent to your organisation to ask a random sample of employees from different functions what your company values are without looking them up! Enthusiastic responses, encompassing the essence of your values, even if they use different words, confirms that you are indeed building the culture you wish to promote.
For help on converting Values into Profit call us on: 0044 1932 888885 – The Performance Business – building reputations, cultivating loyalty, creating wealth.
Lucy Windsor is a Partner in The Performance Business, a Dramatic Breakthrough Coach and has headed up our Roleplay team since 2001 after a successful career in IT Services Industry.