Every organization has a set of values. Whether or not they’re followed is an entirely different question. When we talk about values, we don’t mean a bunch of words on a fancy poster in the lobby or just some page in the About section of a website. When we talk about values, we’re talking about core principles that drive every interaction within an organization. From break room conversations to massive make-or-break projects, values are everything.
A successful workplace culture is one that’s driven by clearly defined and communicated values. Leaders must understand the benefits of a value-driven culture, be able to identify and define what their organization’s values are, and find ways to incorporate those values into their teams to create a thriving culture.
Benefits of Value-Driven Culture
Not every organization’s values are the same. Your values, and the way your teams express them, are unique to you. What is the same amongst organizations who have strong values is the benefits of those values. And when leaders help to create cultures that are truly value-driven, the benefits are immense.
- Increases in productivity because people are clear on their responsibilities and accountabilities.
- Massive time savings because time isn’t wasted on needless tasks or unnecessary bureaucracy.
- Better retention because teams know that their work is valued and meaningful.
- Happier employees because clear values drive systems that serve.
- More creativity because a team’s work is not defined by rigid structures.
- More efficiency because the entire organization bases their work off a straightforward value system and not a complex set of rules.
How to Identify Your Values
“Whatever they are, values work when they are collectively created and when they are collectively accepted and collectively embraced.” — Chris Ihrig, CEO of FiredUp! Culture
If values are destined to be infused into the very core of your organization, they cannot be created in a vacuum. Values should represent the people they serve, which means they should also be decided by those same people.
To identify your organization’s values, start by deciding what’s most important to you and your teams. It’s a process that will involve far more listening than speaking. Take time to gather feedback from everyone in your organization, from the interns to the executives. Listen to what they have to say and work with them to create your own values.
Your value list should not be long. Less is more. Too many and the importance of any individual value becomes diminished. Before long, values will start to seem like meaningless suggestions. Isolate a few core ideas and invest in them. For example, your values might boil down to the following ideas.
- Be kind in all interactions.
- Act professional at all times.
- Honor everyone’s time.
Simple values like this are far-reaching, meaningful, and easy to follow, which makes them powerful guides that everyone in your organization can understand.
Using Values to Drive Stronger Culture
“When values connect with routines, that becomes culture.” — Tim Yeomans, Executive Vice President at FiredUp! Culture
Great values have the potential to drive great workplace culture, but it’s not enough to simply state your values. Leaders and teams must work to develop values into the very fabric of everything they do. If you have that discipline in your workplace, you are much more likely to not only get the outcomes you want, but to encourage people to go above and beyond that expectation.
Getting to that point, where values truly define daily culture, demands a consistent example set by leadership. As a leader, you must exemplify those values at all times. You have to get in front of it.
Values are not created out of a reaction to poor behavior. They are proactive cornerstones that prevent predictable problems from happening.
Now that you’ve got the resources to start defining your values, take the next step in revitalizing your organization’s culture. Download our free resource: The Innovative Leader’s Guide To Transforming Company Culture…Starting With Yourself.
Author, Speaker, and Change Agent.
Chris leads a dynamic team of passionate change agents who are dedicated to partnering with organizational executives to create cultures that inspire, engage and ignite the best in people. Our work is dedicated to harnessing the power of culture to equip leaders, build amazing teams and align operation practices to delighting the customer and drive breakthrough results.