Can you answer that question? It can be a tricky one. First of all you need the definition of an organisation value, as opposed to a personal value, this will be something that encompasses every individual in the company. From the top level, to the client facing employees and in some cases the customer themselves. When someone comes to look at your company they should be able to pick at random and say that is someone that encompasses, or strives, for those values.
So here comes the tricky bit, agreeing on what values you have. This can be difficult because everyone is an individual, and in that egotistical way we are we all generally think we’re right. Several challenges can come with this, some of the common ones are that your values actually end up contradicting themselves. For example if a company wants to achieve excellence in everything they do but at the same time want to take risks this cannot work; by taking risks you will sometimes fail (which is valuable in learning) but that means by definition you can’t achieve perfection or excellence. Another common issue could be that the values are too similar or just generic and don’t relate to your organisation. A great example is teamwork, I think everyone agrees being able to work in a team is a key skill and relatable to any job role in an organisation, but quite frankly it’s obvious. Having values that don’t engage with your organisation and its employee base would be the foundation for issues like alienation; you might as well say your company wants to make profit!
So, how do you find these values? To start with quite simply you just need to go into a room and hash it out with the decision makers. This may be frustrating and time consuming but the effort invested there will return in an engaged employee base, a motivated organisation and a clear impression to potential clients. It’s important to have the whole organisation in mind with these values, try and take emotional and ambiguous terms out of it and very importantly make each short, these aren’t mission statements. But it doesn’t stop there, you need to measure whether these values actually are a representative of your people.
This is the bit where you hear a scream in the background as people scramble for the door, not a 360! But no wait, we’re not like the rest we swear you tell them, just give this one a chance. What they’ll find is you’ve taken that interest to make it bespoke to your organisation, this won’t just be a generic file that is measuring teamwork and then put on the HR Manager’s shelf. When you engage with people and target something relatable they will return interest. This can be the starting point of bringing the organisation closer, optimising the talent it has there and going on to great successes.