How do you value Values?
Astrid Davies writes about values and how they are supported by people's strengths.
Values and integrity are in the news a lot at the moment. Whether it’s exemplary behaviour that is a stand-out among the rich and famous, or abysmal behaviour by one national leader or another, anywhere on the globe, the values underlying the news item strike a chord with many. For some it will motivate, for others it will break the loyalties of a lifetime. And for many more, it will simply be another reason to become increasingly cynical about the world.
Take that macro-view, and focus it into the workplace. Whether working remotely or working in the same space, corporate values speak volumes about what your workplace is about, and as a leader, who you are. Failure to communicate those values can lead to dysfunctional team relationships, under-performance and even, in extreme cases, business failure. Think back to famous allegedly wealthy men who have effectively robbed their business’ pension funds – this complete lack of integrity resulted in the failure of their business empires, and the job loss catastrophes that resulted from that.
So to bring your teams with you, particularly when you are looking to introduce changes at a corporate level, you need to be clear about your organisation’s values, and then embed them in everything you do and say. Straightforward, and yet so very rarely done well.
The reason many such change programmes falter is that, despite having lofty corporate values, the values weren’t communicated, or weren’t observed, or both. The people in charge weren’t always seen to “walk the talk”. It may have been possible to point the accusing finger of hypocrisy. That’s never a good look.
Values are massively important in an organisation. Corporate values are of huge significance, obviously enough. They shape the organisation’s “why” and give the shared vision a sense of purpose and direction. So long as that IS a shared vision, with SHARED corporate values, it’s a winning start. The difficulty comes when values aren’t communicated, the rationale for their creation isn’t communicated … and the values of the teams delivering to those corporate values haven’t been taken into account. This is the crucial element in a change programme – aligning personal values and purpose with the bigger picture, the organisational goals. Where people’s values are mis-matched, it will always be hard for them to be enthused by the corporate direction … and will be nigh-on impossible for the corporate leadership team to engage with those people to harness their talents and energies.
The internet is awash with “how to find your values” downloadable cheatsheets. It can be a reasonably straightforward process, but it is important that it is done. However, values alone are not the saviours of change. It is how those values are aligned WITHIN the change itself, that is crucial. This is where The Change Maker Profile is so important, and so successful for our clients. This is that rare thing – a strengths-based profiling tool. It helps individuals, team leads and whole organisations identify whose strengths suit them best to what tasks and roles within a change programme. This means people are put in roles that they are good at, and will enjoy. That is likely to help the values alignment; it’s also likely to help motivation and productivity too. Being recognised for one’s strengths is a basic need (check out Maslow if you need a reminder). So being placed in roles where one can demonstrate those strengths is massive in terms of individual and team motivation.
Everyone can recognise and admire one another’s strengths. Once people’s Change Maker potential is recognised, it is important that those people are then free to work to their strengths. Playmakers and Game Changers need to be free to use their energy to drive enthusiasm, inspire backers and stakeholders, spot new opportunities. Strategists need to be free to think about the big picture and to assess potential synergies (and pitfalls). Polishers need to be given the time to do what they think is a good job (or at least helped to understand that their version of good is way better than is required, and therefore to accept the shared understanding of good – perfectionism will out!). And Implementers need to feel enabled to do what they do best, deliver, time after time. Imagine how your change programme could work with those strengths being recognised and deployed. You may have gaps, but if you do, with The Change Maker Profile you can be sure you have the best possible way to find a solution – you will be armed with the knowledge you need.
You may have found some things in this piece which resonated with you, where you could see a way this could help, where you felt this could hold a solution for your team’s requirements. If so, please get in touch with The Change Maker Group or with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As with my fellow Change Makers I would be delighted to discuss your issue, and see how we could help. We have a lot of tools, like The Change Maker Profile, we can use with you. Much more importantly, we have a huge depth of experience in delivering successful change all over the world. We would diagnose, empower and support you to find your bespoke solution. Imagine what you could do with that at your disposal. The value of that? Priceless.