Values, properly articulated, will always answer the question,
“Is it alright to do this.”
Values are a frequently used and often misunderstood concept in life and in business. Many will debate and argue about what the word “Value or Values” means? It can be as fluid and as changeable as when a well know DJ was suspended from his job because he played Cliff Richard songs. The station said: “we should not be playing Cliff Richard… we have a policy decision that he doesn’t match our brand values.” Or values can be sustainable, deeply held, intrinsic and sincere.
For me the issue around defining values is straightforward. Values are simply the ideas and beliefs that people hold to and believe in. For many individuals and organisations values are subliminal and as such miss the opportunity that comes when they are developed in a holistic way as fundamental beliefs. Values can and should influence how and why all decisions are made, they tell us what is right and what is wrong, they are a touchstone for all who wish to use them. There are many examples in organisations across different sectors where long lasting, strong and tested core values exist for the benefit of all stakeholders and their communities.
Equally, there are many more examples where values change with the Chief Executive and given that the average Private Sector CEO’s tenure is around three years it is no wonder many organisations are confused about their identity and direction. Is this confusion also the reason that only 5% of change programmes succeed as successive CEO’s try to make their mark on the organisation while ignoring the values that underpin the culture of the organiation?
“Sound” and sustainable values are not something that external ‘value’ consultants can develop and can be changed at the whim of an individual or a group. Embedded values evolve and are tested over years, and are understood and shared by directors, executives, middle and front line managers, staff, stakeholders and customers. Values have a clear strategic benefit for an organisation providing an invaluable, enduring compass that guides everyone in an organisation.
Over the coming months the Marches Hive will publish a series of articles or White Papers which expand on the theme of values.