Values

by Juliet Hancock

Common questions

  1. What is the difference between values and ethics and morals?
  2. How will people know that our stated values matter to our organisation?
  3. What are the key attributes of values-led businesses?
  4. Is there a business case for being values-led?
  5. How do I start working with values?
  6. How will I know that our stated values are effective and being put into practice?

1. What is the difference between values and ethics and morals?

Values describe what is important. They affect what we chose to do and how. Values are underpinned by beliefs. Ethics and morals include a sense of right and wrong, whereas values in themselves are neutral – they are not ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

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2. How will people know that our stated values matter to our organisation?

Leaders and managers indicate to employees and customers what is important by what they actually say and what they do – not what is written on the wall or in corporate literature. If you are in a senior or influential role, your words and deeds directly shape the organisational culture. In fact, as far as those outside the organisation are concerned, the words and deeds of all employees will be seen as an example of the culture of the organisation in practice.

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3. What are the key attributes of values-led businesses?

They are good at what they do and are seen as open and trustworthy. They see values as a major motivator for staff. Management is held to account for both results and values by stakeholders. There are clear mechanisms in place which ensure that values are the basis of a shared purpose which is understood and transmitted through the business. Staff views are listened to.

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4. Is there a business case for being values-led?

Meaningful employee engagement needs to reflect the needs of staff and what is most important to them, not just the organisation. By listening to what is most important to staff – in other words, their values, and the extent to which these are met – action can then be focused on the areas that will make the biggest difference to individual and organisation engagement, productivity and effectiveness.

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5. How do I start working with values?

Identifying and then working with your personal values is the starting point for working with values. Self-awareness will not give you solutions, but will tell you what the key ingredients of the ‘right solution’ are for you. If you are in touch with your own values about what is important and why, then you can make more informed choices about what you do in your work and beyond and how you do it. It will also help you to recognise and articulate the importance and role of values when working with others (for yourself and for them), enhancing the decisions you take.

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6. How will I know that our stated values are effective and being put into practice?

What gets measured gets done.

  • Focus on measuring what matters.
  • Measure it in a way which aligns with your values.
  • Demonstrate your values in what you do with the results.

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