You probably don’t have your personal values written out and posted on the wall somewhere. You likely haven’t even thought through and named each of the values you strive to embody. But whether articulated or not, everyone lives by a set of values, and organizations should too.
Some may argue that “corporate values” just end up as a meaningless poster on the wall or paragraph in the employee handbook and don’t really make a difference. That may be the case for some organizations, but it definitely shouldn’t be the norm.
In an online article for Forbes magazine, contributor Gary Peterson makes an argument for why corporate values matter. He offers three reasons why they are important to the long-term growth and value of an organization:
- Values are how you hire.
- Values are how you change your behavior.
- Values are the heart of your culture.
Peterson writes, “By hiring based on values and holding each other accountable to the company’s standards, the values become the fabric of the organization’s culture—regardless of who is in charge.”
No matter what your company values are, it’s important that they are firmly established, clearly articulated, and that your leadership team and everyone in your organization is familiar with and committed to those values. It is especially important that you as a leader stick to those values—no matter what.
Bottom line: organizations thrive when their people are inspired, and people are inspired when their organizations establish well-chosen corporate values that authentically reflect the organizational vision and culture.
What do your organization’s values look like?
[This article was adapted from Chapter 13 of my book, Be An Inspirational Leader]