August 18, 2010 Communication, Executive, Leadership

Core Values and Organizational Culture

Values exist in every workplace. Your organization’s culture is partially the outward demonstration of the values currently existing in your workplace. The question you need to ask is whether these existing values are creating the workplace you desire.

Do these values promote a culture of extraordinary customer care by happy, motivated, productive people? If not, you will want to:

• Identify the values that currently exist in your workplace;

• Determine if these are the right values for your workplace; and

• Change the actions and behaviors by which the values are demonstrated, if necessary.

To really make a difference in your organization, you need to do all three. I have had the opportunity to serve organizations that have written core values and those where core values were communicated by actions mostly – in the ways in which business is conducted on a day-to-day basis, and not so much in words directly spoken or written. I am a firm advocate of demonstrated values more than written or spoken – actions speak louder, but I also believe that written values that reinforce and support specific actions, and specific actions that reinforce and support written values, make a powerful combination that far exceeds one or the other by itself. If it is written down and demonstrated in action, we can really hold our feet to the fire when we need to. Effective organizations identify and develop a clear, concise and shared meaning of values/beliefs, priorities, and direction so that everyone understands and can contribute.

I have asked some colleagues to share how they have implemented core values  in their organizations and will share that feedback in a few days.  How does your company demonstrate their core values?  Are they just written words or philosophical pillars upon which your company is built?