Written by Mandy Balak
You know your values, but how ALIVE are they in the day to day experience of your business?
Company values are often relegated to a few lines in the employee handbook or displayed on the office walls. But what if these values could be more than mere words? What if they could become the driving force behind your organization’s behavior and actions, fostering a healthy culture, work experience and ultimately boosting your bottom line?
That’s exactly one of the tools I help business owners and their teams with – operationalizing and embodying the values they stand for.
The Value of Values
Core values aren’t a new topic – are the foundation of any business model there’s underlying motivations and values that generally represent the founders’ vision and reasons for starting the business.
When values are lived in the business, it keeps the SPIRIT of the founding mission alive and, gets the team rowing in the same direction.
In the words of Brené Brown, “Core values are the deeply ingrained principles that guide all of a company’s actions; they serve as its cultural cornerstones. Core values reflect what is important to the organization and its members. They are the unwavering and deeply held beliefs that should drive the company’s decisions and actions, and they are the foundation upon which an organization’s culture is built.”
Core values are the fundamental beliefs that shape how a company operates and behaves. They are the moral compass of the organization, guiding its actions and decisions. Just as your personal values guide your actions and choices, core values do the same for a company, helping it stay true to its identity and mission.
It’s common that when I start working with a company when I ask people in the business what their values are, they stumble, even at the highest level on leadership teams.
Core values are the most powerful decision making committee we have and, the key to building a culture of empowerment. When your team knows what you stand for and can articulate that in a way that’s meaningful for them, they can embody that in their day to day role and decision making.
The Gap Between ‘Nice Words’ and Actual Behaviour
The reason for this struggle is either their too many values that no one can remember them or, that they aren’t actively a part of the day to day operations, hiring and coaching process or regular planning meetings.
The consequence of this? Lack of alignment and a missed opportunity to create a culture that embodies the mission, vision and values in all touchpoints of the business.
One of the #1 struggles that I hear from the C-suite is a desire for more ownership, accountability and engagement in their team and, values are a tool to create this.
The Power of Alignment
When a company has truly operationalized its values it means that the values become so much more than words on a wall or, in a handbook but they get to be witnessed as behaviour and energy internally and externally.
For example, if a company holds a value such as ‘ We put people first ‘ both the employees and team members and its customers could easily tell a story of how they experienced that on any given day. From a customer this could be in the level of customer service they experienced to work through an issue, or internally, how cared for a team member felt while navigating a tough season.
When values come ALIVE this impacts employee morale, retention, productivity and empowerment and, it creates customer loyalty because they can trust that the company walks their talk.
Recently, I helped one of my clients operationalize their values into statements – this turned words into action and transformed the word Growth into ‘ We Grow Together ‘ . I witnessed their team become more aware of how their actions could back up this value and the level of ownership they now take pride in.
They now have a values trophy where each week a team member is awarded MVP based on votes from their team ( see below for the infamous ‘ Golden Cantilever ‘ we created for HBI Interiors ). The employees have become champions of the values and keepers of the culture and proudly compete for who’s demonstrating the values the most. I love seeing this team go above and beyond to bring their values alive.
Another way I have seen this be impactful is incorporating values into performance reviews, ranking team members by how much they live the values of the company – this can be helpful in development of leadership and making decisions whether to coach up or in some cases, coach out when not living in alignment with the guiding principles.
Values are an important part of who you are, what you stand for and how you live, breathe and embody what’s most meaningful for you.
So, what is most meaningful for you? Is it writeen in a handbook or, is it ALIVE in your business and culture everyday?
If you are ready to raise the level of ownership, engagement, empowerment and accountability in your team, I’d love to help.
Transform your company culture and boost your business’s success by bringing your values ALIVE. Connect with me today, and let’s work together to bring your values to life in your organization.
Visit mandybalak.com/ to learn more about my Business Advisory, Executive Coaching and Strategic Consulting here or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are a few pictures from recent values alive sessions with my clients; Eight Ounce Coffee, Restorative Physiotherapy and Wellington-Altus Wealth.