Many companies, business owners and managers have a rough idea of their company culture and values, but don’t get anything documented and formalised. They don’t share this knowledge with employees, but they still expect staff to act accordingly!
Jim Collins and Jerry Porras published their book “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” in 1994, which covers their 6 year research project into what makes enduring companies great. They noted that core values are timeless, guiding principles that require no external justification, but give value to the company’s members. It is “The ultimate glue that bonds the best companies”.
In 1995 the book “Transforming the Organisation” wrote by Francis J. Gouillart and James N. Kelly, was published. They say “Values and beliefs guide the decision of corporate life. It is the leader’s task to ensure that they are aligned and consistent, rather than mixed and contradictory. Values define the firm’s non-negotiable behaviours as well as provide the guideposts for navigating though grey areas. They keep a company together and give it its resilience. Living them day in day out is what really counts in the end.”
Good values will transform your business into one where people are climbing over one another to be able to work for you. Values are essential to help companies achieve their goals and their full potential.
When you come to sit down to decide what your core values are, you also need to be able to define and give a brief definition of each, so that the people within your organisation truly understand what you are trying to achieve.
The people you employ should also look at their own values to see how they fit with the company’s.
You will also need to be able to measure if the company’s employees are working by the values, so you will need guidelines for example: We always strive to get the best from our staff – We hold annual appraisals and give each individual a personal development plan. If mistakes are made we learn from them and move on.
A definition of culture is “It’s the specific collection of values and norms that are shared by people and groups in an organisation and that control the way they interact with each other and with stakeholders outside the organisation.”
Your cultures will be for ever changing and evolving. New employees will have their own ways of working and their own values and depending on how strong a culture you have, will determine how much of an influence that new employee has.
Business growth, economic climate and the environment can all see changes to organisational culture.
Characteristics of company cultures are:
– Accountability standards
– Customer focussed
– Employee performance based rewards
– Efficient systems and processes
– Mission clarity
– Employee personal development
– Retaining and recruiting the right employees
Your culture then needs to be working in sync with your strategic goals. Your formal policies will need to be improved.
The core values can help decision making. They inform others about what is important to an organisation and what that organisation is about. Values that are clearly communicated to the public give a strong, competitive advantage to that company.
Your company vision is backed up by your values and culture.
Core ideology is integral to vision setting. Jim Collins and Jerry Porras stated “it defines a company’s timeless character. A consistent identity that transcends product or market life cycles, technology breakthroughs, management fads and individual leaders.”
Collins and Porras found that companies usual have 3 to 5 core values that are “so fundamental and deeply held that they will change seldom, if ever.”
So to sum up, take a look at how your organisation operates now. What is its current core values and culture? Then what is your vision for the company? How do you want it perceived by outsiders and employees alike? What needs changing within the culture of your business to get it to where you want it to be?
After you have answered these questions then you can start to decide what the core values need to be and how you define each of these to make it easy to communicate to others. Review them regularly.
Document them, have them on display, make sure all staff understand them and make sure you share them at every opportunity with customers and the public alike.
If you need any help with defining you values, please get in touch.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 07784 611399.