How To Harmonise Personal And Company Values
In these uncertain and volatile times, workplaces are required to evolve at a more accelerated rate than previously so that businesses can remain fluid and adaptable to the demands of the environment and the market place. Changes can be reflected in organisational strategies which will undoubtedly include an internal focus on the renewal of company values.
Company values provide a set of behaviours that the company expects its employees to follow. These become the DNA of how the company wishes to be perceived by its internal and external stakeholders. However, before you can truly understand what your work place is expecting of you, it is important for you to identify your own personal values.
How to create your own values
Personal values will help you to understand yourself better, discovering what inspires and motivates you, can help build success. Knowing what makes you happy in life can help you create a life which is important to you, and this will have a positive effect on your emotions, thoughts and behaviour. It sounds obvious; yet often people admit they don’t think about what is important to them, and don’t know what their personal values are.
To begin to find your top 5 values create a list full of things that are important to you, i.e. integrity, honesty, teamwork, artistic endeavour and rate these on a scale of 1-4
- Not important to me
- Important to me
- Very important to me
- Highly important to me
After you have been through your list if you have more than 5 values scoring highest, be more specific, create a sub-set list, and ask yourself “which would I choose?”
3 Strategies to help bring company value into focus
Once you recognise what is important to your health and happiness, you can look to benchmark this against what your workplace is expecting of you, to see if the organisational values work for you, or not. A simple self-inquiry when faced with a being asked to adhere to new, or revised set of company values, is “Do these values resonate with my own?” and “How can I make this work for me?”.
- If you don’t know where to begin, reflect on your personal values, i.e. what is important to you, and the rest will follow.
- If you feel you respect your company DNA and want to see more of this good stuff in motion, be the best example you can be and others will follow.
- Look for opportunities such as sustainable growth which can reflect company ethos and get involved. You do not have to be a mover and shaker in senior management to do so, as this is available at grass roots level. On the upside, this can help boost your confidence, help build your network outside of your role, and enable you to have an impact on the world.
Lessons I learned about perception
Whilst working at a well know internet portal one the key values was ‘fun’. When the company lost market share it was said that it was no surprise the company was losing dividend with ‘fun’ at the core of its business. This of course was not evidence based; there were many variables for the demise of the company, which included ill-fated leadership, and operating in a fiercely competitive landscape. Paradoxically, ‘fun’ was the metaphorical glue that kept every together. It created a community of people who enjoyed themselves, and each other. It also meant the company scored well on equality and diversity as there was not a stereotypical type of employee on the hiring mandate.
Which proves that values can be anything you want them to be. Company values are there to help navigate you through your work life; they act as a behaviour guide with a focus on what the company is looking to achieve. And for the company they provide characteristics which represent the company ethos, so much more than a set of rules that nobody cares about.
What everyone ought to know about value management
If the company you work for has a notable set of values and yet people to do not follow them, break the rules and the internal behaviour is toxic, what do you do? It does create a moral dilemma. Do you furiously start applying for other jobs, and look to leave? Or do you go around in activist mode reminding people to be nice? Most likely people will not care if their behaviour is not converted in the company values, and management will not be interested in this as an arguable fact. The only way out of this type of situation is to adopt a strong position of (self) leadership, and be the best advocate you can for what is expected of you. You cannot change the behaviour of others, but you can change your own, and often this will help people respond with a more positive approach.
How to solve value neglect
If you work for an organisation which doesn’t have any values, I suggest you raise this with your line manager and look to make realistic recommendations. If you work in a large conglomerate, a medium sized business or a start-up and the values are just marketing jargon on the company website, and have nothing to do with your day to day, and if you truly cannot make a change impact, the best advice is to run for the hills.
The world we live in is complex and uncertain, our personal and company values can be transformative and can serve as a roadmap to being the best you can. As you grow and develop you can redefine these to suit your work and life situation. If you feel your values are being challenged, and you are feeling stress about the behaviour around you, it might be time to have a re-think about the environment, the friends you keep, and the work you do as left unexplored this could lead to further psychological issues such as anxiety and depression. As Richard Millar, CEO of Hill & Knowlton UK, advocates, “As humans we have immense capacity for change…and we need to take responsibility for making things better”.