Think of the values you and your organization hold dear. They could be things like: “Be creative”, or “Be transparent”, or even “Treat each other with respect”. Core values are the guiding lights within organizations – we know their importance.
So why is it so hard to develop or even pinpoint them? Well, as the old adage goes, what we can’t see is hard to define, measure, or move.
For me, values are quite the opposite. Values in fact are very evident – they are the things that people are innately displaying through their behaviours and choice.
But the thing about values is that, as Harvard Business Review points out, “they have to be authentic.” In other words, we can be inspired to declare what our values can look like – but they will only be bought into, accepted, and enacted on when they feel real.
I work with clients and leaders to enhance and evolve their culture. The Culture Evolution Plan is a method I’ve developed to understand, evaluate, and monitor workplace culture. Values are at the core of this plan.
How are people working together? How are people showing up? Are they placing blame or making excuses? Or, are they building each other up and supporting a collaborative and forward-looking environment?
Culture, then, is very much the how we do and values move the needle.
Values are the foundation of a workplace – in other words, they’re the building blocks because they drive behaviours and decisions. And there are two types:
Espoused values: publicly declared and documented in writing
Enacted values: the ones that guide the day-to-day behaviour of people and decision making within the company.