Monday 20 February 2017

For your best business results, turn your values into virtues

When I left the corporate world at the start of the last decade of last century to begin my own practice as a mentor, speaker, and strategist, for the first couple of years a lot of my work with clients centred around helping them to create or upgrade their vision, mission and value statements, and better align strategy and execution.

I stopped doing this after something profound happened as I share in the video below:

This encounter was the catalyst to finding a better way. 

In the early part of this century I discovered over the course of a 3 year project with one client, that the better way was, through collaboration, to turn values (usually single words) into virtues ("behaviours showing high moral standards").

In the case of this client 18 behaviours were the result of significant work. (we subsequently learned that 18 is too many!)

As behaviours became the focus, or as one of the leaders involved described it "As soon as living our values became our intention, and the key focus of our attention, performance dramatically improved."

I was astounded by the performance improvement and observed two other deep factors at play. The more values were lived, the more people felt valued, and the greater value they delivered to other people. I also learned that sustaining a high level of feeling valued, living values, and delivering value, depended greatly on leadership, management, and culture.

My foundational model (pictured below) for co-creating remarkable workplaces was born.

In the 15 years since many clients have successfully adopted this model, in their own best way (the key to their success). And profoundly, industry, country, or economic climate are irrelevant.

A 14th May 2010 New York Times article by one of my favourite authors and writers, Thomas L. Friedman, drove another stake deeply into the ground.

"So more and more of us are behaving by, what Seidman calls, “situational values”: I do whatever the situation allows. Think Goldman Sachs or BP. The opposite of situational values, argues Seidman, are “sustainable values”: values that inspire in us behaviors that literally sustain our relationships with one another, with our communities, with our institutions, and with our forests, oceans and climate. Of course, to counter this epidemic of situational thinking, we need more and better regulations, but we also need more people behaving better. Regulations only tell you what you can or can’t do in certain situations. Sustainable values inspire you to do what you should do in every situation."

The Seidman Thomas Friedman refers to is Dov Seidman, the C.E.O. of LRN who help companies build ethical cultures. More about Dov here. Please read the full Friedman article here.

Sustainable values are for me virtues ("behaviours showing high moral standards"). And sustainable values are a key to your sustainability as an organisation in a world viewed by a few as "post-truth", "fake news".

There's more to your sustainability, and by definition remarkability too.

Be remarkable.

Other Valuable Reading

'Big Arrow Behaviour'

Mental Virtues

Business Values - do they exist?

Values or behaviours? Where to focus your culture efforts

Values for working together and professional behaviours

Culture & Values/Behaviours Mapping

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