Company values – the challenge and opportunity

Recent months have prompted space individuals time to reflect upon what they truly value in their personal and professional lives.

This will inform how people identify with the company and its leaders moving forward. Employees now have a deeper understanding of to what extent stated company values inform leadership decisions.

One of the key attributes impacted, positively or negatively, during change response is trust within the organization. If there is alignment between the stated company values and what values were demonstrated during this change response, trust will likely be positively affected. If there is a disconnect between the stated company values and those experienced by employees, people will wonder “why?”. If the answer to that question isn’t well-supported, employees may lose trust in their leaders or lose confidence that the particular stated value is truly one of the company.

Leaders should engage in self reflection and initiate open, humble conversations with those in their teams and organizations to interrogate and refine company values. We may find that the previously stated company values are not shared by all and are not relevant enough to materialize in our decisions and behaviors. We may find that the disconnect was simply situational and unavoidable. Acknowledge this for our selves and with the team to avoid resentment from developing.

As leaders we know our actions inform the perceptions and attitudes of others. They shape organizational culture. We want to ensure that those values that are core to our people and to our company are reinforced. If there was a situational disconnect, acknowledge it and reinforce the importance of the value to the company. Consider also informing colleagues of the values that informed your decisions.

“There were several options presented when I made this decision. I considered many things. Our company values are (x,y,x) and, therefore, I decided (a,b,c).”

This may seem like an over-communication, but in times of intense change communication is required. This communication can raise awareness with employees as to what values are non-negotiable. It offers reassurance that leaders “walk the talk” and are consistent in their approach. Finally, it can reinforce the behaviors you wish to promote in colleagues; that in difficult situations they can refer to company values to make the best possible decision, knowing that in these situations every decision is imperfect.

As companies recover from this period, leaders need to engage all staff in reflective, inclusive conversations. Leaders can reaffirm values which are integral to the company culture and which values are shared by many employees that should be communicated more. Acknowledge what has and what has not changed, and help people through this transition.

Company values have been challenged. This is an opportunity to engage people and clarify which values drive your culture #businesscontinuity #leadership #culture #culturecontinuity


Photo by David Marcu on Unsplash