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Developing an effective organisational values set with integrity is crucial. Are the organisations values developed in the boardroom, as one senior manager described it “The product of a wet Wednesday afternoon”? Or are they the outcome of a deep engagement with colleagues, management, directors, customers and stakeholders?
The key question is which approach is more likely to lead to a values proposition with longevity and one that becomes so well understood that they in time are assimilated as the longed for part of the organisation’s DNA?
I offer a four step process for organisations considering how to develop and implement their own values framework.
STEP 1: Board, Executive and Senior Managers
- Review how to develop an appropriate values set and the guidelines for putting the vision of being a successful values-based business into practice. Start with the end in mind!
- Develop a clear understanding about how a values based culture is derived and how this works in practice.
- Identify the behaviours that will support the delivery of the values.
STEP 2: Middle, Frontline Managers, Staff
- Build an understanding of the distinct nature and difference of the organisation that they work for.
- Identify how a values framework can enhance internal and external relationships.
- Understand the behaviours that will support the delivery of the values.
STEP 3: Pilot
- Pilot to staff and customers the different ‘values/brand/people proposition’ that the organisation is going to offer.
- Review the pilot and learn the lessons prior to a full roll-out.
STEP 4: The Whole Organisation
- Clarify how you will demonstrate your values publicly and drive your vision forward and how the values relate to everyday work.
- Decide how the process will to be owned by all as it can only be effective if it is be clearly understood and owned by all key stakeholders including the Board, Managers and all Staff.
Different parts of the organisation should not have different sets of values, though a department may have a clear responsibility for focussing on a part of the values mix and its communication to a wider audience. All employees need to be aware of and given the opportunity to understand and share the same values. These shared values need to be expressed in a straightforward way.