Living Your Company Values

If I ask you to make a list of the things you value, I would bet that most people will start their list with things like respect, honesty, and the usual list of fluffy, woolly words.

My next question would be how you apply these values in your daily life. Again I would probably get quite a few "you know - we just do it" answers and a vague wave in the air, or maybe even a few noble textbook answers.

We have a lovely saying in Afrikaans, which can roughly be translated into "between the hand and the mouth, the porridge will drop to the floor". This means that you may start out with an intention, but in taking action the inconsistency between your thoughts and actions will show.

The creation process consists of four steps. First you feel the quantum vibration. Then you turn that vibration into a thought. You add filters to the thought based on your own biases and prejudices, and then you act on the thought.

The inconsistency between thought and action happens because you add filters that twist the original vibration into something that cannot easily be recognised.

Let me give you an example. You work for a company that tells you respect for their clients is very high on their list of values. This respect is expressed in many different ways daily when they deal with clients, and that is what has given your company a good reputation and a competitive advantage.

But what happens back at the ranch? You have a new employee who needs to submit weekly progress reports. You hand the report template and an incomplete example to the employee, and say "here, this is what you must hand in next week". That is the only instruction.

The employee hands in a progress report the next week, but it does not nearly meet your expectations. You don't say a word about it, because you do not like confrontations.

The employee hands in the second set of progress reports, based on the same original instructions, and of course it is a mess again – as expected. This time you demand that the employee puts in overtime to re-do the progress report, and this time you give complete instructions. You explain that although the headings say "blue blocks" and "red blocks", the company practice is to use those blocks to fill in the days of the week. You indicate all the other elements that were missing from your instructions and from the half-baked example you provided. You even offer to sit next to the employee and go through the reports line by line, because obviously the problem is not with your cock-eyed instructions, but with the employee's lack of ability to second-guess years of crossed lines in the company processes.

Did you respect the employee's time and intelligence?

This is just one example of values that are used in promotional material but never thought through and explained well. Company values are not only there for promotional purposes and for having a professional façade in place. They are meant to guide every move that is made in your company. Where you act against your company values, no "yes, but" and no deaf ear will undo the internal damage.

And where one such discrepancy is allowed and not challenged by anyone, from the management team down, another discrepancy will happen, and another. Very soon you get a company culture where challenging any incongruence between values and actions are regarded as disrespectful. Ship sinking fast, captain leaving first!

Last modified on Tuesday, 07 February 2017 08:05

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