Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Are Organizational Values that Important?




I had a colleague ask me, "Why do we need organizational values? Our employees know what we are about." It did make me stop and think for a minute.

I then ran across this blog on organizational goals and beliefs.

I then realized what my subject was for this week...

I agree that when you enter an organization you can learn by observing. In other words, you can tell what is acceptable and what the company values by watching people's actions. The problem with this is when people DON'T act in a way that benefits the organization. Also, some people just aren't that adept in reading into behaviors and determining what values are being represented.

I really believe that expectations should be very explicit, very clear and known by everyone in the organization. Don't leave anything to guesswork as when people don't have a point of reference, they do what they think is best at the time. (Think Wall Street melt down, Concordia Ship wreck and Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal.)

So, you can probably tell that I feel that is very important to have stated organizational values. Not the ones that are the nice to hear, like integrity, excellence, and customer focused. But the ones that really describe the guts of your organization and why you are special.

If I had to list some for our company they would be:

1) Nimble, can react to needs quickly
2) Flexible, can change on a dime
3) Customized approach to solutions
4) Entrepreneurial, always reinventing ourselves
5) Creative, use newest techniques
6) FUN!

Ok, now I have written them down.

It's important that we select those values that resonate with our employees and customers. It's why I believe we have been successful for almost 15 years and that we have clients that have been with us for 14 years.

So, what do you say? YES to values or NO, don't bother?

Also, what are the implications for HR if values are not stated?

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