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December 22, 2016

Business values should have an expiration date, when is yours?

Most organisations would agree on the importance of having a vision, something for the individuals in the company to strive for together. Business values, on the other hand, are one of the most important factors that will bring people together and make them a community, yet it is less prioritised.

Although few would admit to it, the practice of setting up business values is often treated as a one time act, something done during a company retreat or conference. If you as a leader understand the importance of nurturing a culture; values should be high on your priority list. Values cannot be dictated, taught, or even compromised, they can only be agreed upon, or else they will just be fancy words.

Values need to be as dynamic as any other part of your company (including the vision). People in your company change, they grow, they leave. New people join. And we forget. As humans, we tend not to feel engaged, involved, or even valued when we haven’t been part of the decision process. By revisiting, dusting off and evaluating values regularly as an organisation, you create a common ground on which you operate on. Write them down, put them up where everyone can see them. And don’t be afraid of changing them. In fact, do!

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Clear goals keep a team aligned, the values guide you how to work together to reach them. They are your anchor.
  • One person, or a few people from management should not set values alone. This can actually have the opposite intended effect.
  • Don’t bargain on culture. You will lose money, friends, maybe even get a bad rep.
  • Once a year is good for evaluation. If you use the right methods and processes, it’s not time consuming.
  • Make sure to define the values you agree upon. We all put different meanings in words. A manifesto is one way of doing it. 


Business values should have an expiration date

Business values and vision

Talk the talk, then walk the walk!

By implementing a process of regular evaluations you will get a clearer view of how you and your team is actually living by the values you’ve set up together. It’s easy during a workshop to come up with what values you believe you SHOULD have. It’s a different thing to actually live by.

There is no particular time of the year that we recommend to do this. People tend to feel more open minded and excited in the beginning of a year (in with the new), later on frustration may have grown and can also work as driving force. The important thing is that you don’t wait, and that you evaluate regularly.

If you need to bounce ideas on how you can implement processes to strengthen your team culture and go through your values we are happy to talk.

Author | Irene Olkerud

Always exploring new cultures and platforms to feed my curiosity. Driven by people & behaviour. Excited about mixing data with creativity.

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