At MarchFifteen we pay attention to the organizational culture of our clients, and how it relates to the creation of an environment that is successful for employees, customers and their organization as a whole. Since organizational culture is a complex thing, in this blog we want to focus on one of the essential ingredients of culture; a set of clear and liveable values.
Values are the deeply held views, both individual and collective, of what we find worthwhile. They represent how we feel about issues, how we make decisions and how we behave in good times and in bad.
In a February 2010 article on the importance of values written by Richard Barrett, of the Barrett Values Centre, it is said that values‐driven organizations are the most successful organizations on the planet. His findings show that values and behaviours drive culture and culture, in turn, drives employee fulfillment. In addition, there is a strong correlation between employee fulfillment and customer satisfaction, as well as shareholder value. Specifically in the public sector, he finds a strong link between values, employee fulfillment and mission assurance, along with customer satisfaction.
The following are examples of a few organizations, and their success that comes from values-based operation.
Levi Strauss created a first set of clear and radical values in 1990. Although their descriptions might have changed over the decades, the current definitions are still true to the original spirit in which they were intended, with the main difference being in the fact that some of aspirational statements have become a norm – like the transformation from the organization’s desire to be culturally diverse, to their acknowledgment that the diversity is part of their organizational DNA. Levi Strauss’s conscious focus on operationalizing these lofty statements has endured and still contributes to what the organization stands for today.
Similarly, at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts all employees can easily list and relate to their core organizational values. Their common belief that people are their greatest asset, combined with a strong commitment to cooperation, respect, dignity and customer satisfaction has widely been credited for the organization’s consistent global success.
And here at home, at MarchFifteen Consulting, we too have a set of values that were built as part of the organization’s design, even before its inception. They contribute greatly to the way we “show up” every day with our clients, our stakeholders and with each other. In our world, we are committed to bringing thought leadership to our clients. We use both science and intuition in our practice. We connect people and organizations to “the larger things in life”. This base is a foundation for not only how we do business, but also “what we do” in business. And so far – these values are working for us.
We don’t often pause to think about our values, but when we do, the results can be quite meaningful and they can also increase our ability to perform successfully. So, if you haven’t taken the time recently to think about your organizational values and their link to your business success, maybe taking a moment while sipping a glass of wine at the cottage and pondering on the following questions will be of help:
- What are the collective principles and ideals that guide our thoughts, actions and drive at our core purpose as an organization?
- What truly gives character to what we are as an entity?
- Are people clear around those principles?
- Do our HR systems support the true meaning of our values? And, do we reward the right things?
- Would anybody in the hallway of our office be able, like they can at Four Seasons, to list the core values and be proud of them? Or are they just laminated empty words?
- And if not, is there anything within my control to change that would help the organization be more successful through a clear articulate set of values?
We would love to hear from you about this blog, so let us know what you think.