An organisations shared values are what guides everything that the business does. They give the business a purpose, guiding the daily tasks and functions of employees and collectively creating the desired culture of the organisation.
Values are also sometimes referred to as our beliefs and philosophies but in the case of organisational values they form a collective organisation-wide belief about how things should operate, acceptable behaviour, how customers/shareholders and other stakeholders should be treated and the way that the business is accountable for their values.
Organisational values are consistent and span over a long-term period of time. Like a beacon, values are what guide an organisation and the people within that organisation. Even in the stormiest of times, values will still guide the way, dictating what acceptable behaviour is and isn't. Generally the values are driven from the top of the organisation down.
Tips for Creating Organisational Values:
When creating your organisation's values, they should:
Be short, clear and concise - employees should be able to remember them and recall them at any time;
Be a list of the most important values only (I would suggest no more than a maximum of 10);
Be motivating and inspiring;
Have a positive, strong impact on employees and customers alike;
Express the passions of senior leadership - what they want their organisation to be known for;
Be connected back into the vision and mission;
Become part of the daily culture at your organisation - where employees have KPI's based around the values and are held accountable to these;
Be integrated into the way your organisation acts and reacts in any situation; and
Be a call to action for employees.
Defining the Values:
Defining the core values for your organisation should begin with reviewing the current vision. The values should support the vision and allow the vision to become a reality. The values should outline how the organisation is going to function and how employees are going to behave in their approach to work. A good step by step approach might look something like this:
Get your leadership group together and brainstorm the following question: "what is important to us as an organisation and how do we want to stand out and be unique in our field?"
Write down all the ideas that come out. You want to have at least 30 ideas recorded.
Next pose the question "what do other organisations in our field do that we will never do?" This will hopefully generate some new ideas of what is important. Write these down as well.
With your combined list of ideas, you need to narrow these down to no more than ten values that represent your organisation, your employees and your ideals. You may find that a few of the ideas can be combined under one umbrella, but be careful not to over-complicate your values.
Ensure that all of the values begin with a verb. Values are actions - they are things that you or your employees will do.
Congratulations you now have a list of values!
Sample Organisational Values of ASX200 Organisations:
Integrity - We are open, honest and fair. We do what we say we will do. We have the courage to do the right thing.
Respect - We give everyone a fair go. We listen.
Working Sustainably - We are here for the long term. We look after each other, our communities and the environment. We keep each other safe.
Working Together - We are on the same team. We build long-term partnerships.
Discipline - We play by the rules. We set goals and we hold ourselves to account.
Excellence - We achieve great results. We learn. We get better.
Show we care
Work better; together
Trust each other to deliver
Make the complex simple
Find our courage
Customer Centric - The customer is our central focus. Always. In every interaction.
Boldly Creative - We are innovative, agile, curious and forward thinking.
Accountable - We act with integrity and respect by being answerable for what we do.
Collaborative - We work with each other to achieve ambitious results. We support, respect and listen to each other.
National Australia Bank (NAB):
Passion for customers – Putting ourselves in our customers' shoes, finding and delivering the right solutions for them, and fixing things quickly if we get them wrong.
Will to win – Going the extra mile for our customers and people, never losing sight of our goals.
Be bold - We aren’t afraid to ask the tough questions and try something different. We back ourselves and are accountable for our actions.
Respect for people – We have real conversations with people, always showing respect and courage. We embrace the things that make us all different and encourage an inclusive culture.
Do the right thing – We make good decisions for our customers, people and communities, even when it’s difficult.
Other Resources for Further Help:
Still having trouble defining your list of organisational core values? There is an exercise adapted from S.Haines (1979), J.W. Pfeiffer (1986) and T.Rusk (1989) which I always find useful.
Using the list of values below, begin by selecting 10 values in column 2 that have the most importance to the future success of your organisation. Then complete column 1 in the same manner. This will help you determine where you are now in relation to core values that the organisation should have and where you need to be.
This is the second part in a series of posts on strategic planning. For the first part on 'Creating a Shared Vision of Success' please visit my website pdisolutions.com.au. Stay tuned for further parts in this series.
PDI Solutions can work with organisations to create and implement an effective strategic plan. We follow five key steps. Step 1 (Environmental Scanning) and Step 2 (SWOT Analysis) are designed to review the work that your organisation does and a review of the organisations internal functioning. Step 3 is to define the organisations vision, mission, core values and objectives. Step 4 includes a full gap analysis between the desired state and the actual performance state. Step 5 is about pulling all of this information together into a strategic plan with key result areas. This step also looks at obstacles for implementation and change management.
This whole process takes approximately one week to work through thoroughly with numerous group exercises for leadership parties. This can also be completed over a longer period if desired.