How to Uncover Your Organization’s Core Values
Creating a set of values gives everyone in your organization a set of truths by which to operate.
Defining values means defining what is important to you – these values will surface consistently in the ways you interact with vendors, clients, and each other.
Your personal values show-up in your behaviors. Exercising and eating well are behaviors that demonstrate that you value health.
Within an organization, we look at the behaviors that produce the desired result.
For example, which behaviors are present when we have a successful sale or an excellent relationship with a vendor?
These values acted as the underlying motivation behind our performance.
When your values are clear to your, making decisions becomes easier. – (Click to Tweet)
To discover your organization’s values, look for patterns in behavior, both negative and positive.
When we found patterns that we did not like, that produced an undesired result, we looked to determine the opposite of that behavior.
Start with What Isn’t Working
In many cases, it is easier for groups to start with the negative. People are good at being hard on themselves.
For example, if your team struggles with being late to meetings, the opposite of that behavior is keeping agreements. If there is a lack of innovation and growth, the team needs more opportunities to learn and access to active coaches in their court.
To uncover a core set of values, our leadership team spent two days listing everything we like about what we saw in the organization and within individual relationships and team members. This list gave us the basis we needed to recognize the patterns we value.
Based on these patterns, we created a set of values using thoughtful language. We describe what each value means in a way that it can be applied to any circumstance we may encounter. It is important to note values can be demonstrated in every situation – they are not case specific.
Values are deeply held beliefs that drive and direct your behavior. – (Click to Tweet)
Putting Our Values in Practice
When complete, the leadership team presented the values to the rest of the organization and allowed substantial time for conversation. We had lengthy discussions about each value and why specific words and ideas were selected for inclusion.
In the end, we all agreed that this set of values accurately described how we want to move, as an organization, through our world. It gives us a common language and understanding to explain what each had felt intuitively but had not yet named.
Our values provide us with a simple yardstick by which we can evaluate situations. When there is a breakdown, all we have to do is identify the value that was missing. We have never had a breakdown or undesirable result in which all of our values were present. Every time there is a breakdown, we can identify at least one value that was missing from the situation.
Creating a standard set of values for an organization is not a simple process. Values that change the way you operate are not a set of tools to apply at-will. Instead, they must be demonstrated in every situation and interaction. In short, your values define what you, as an organization, are good at – what you are uncompromisingly dedicated to above all else.