What are the “Values” (Part 1)

In Business, Culture by Stephen Rogers

Just recently I have seen a few organisations going through the process of revising their overarching vision and their values.  These organisations have typically been in operation for more than 10 years, and have had both visions and values in the past. They were firmly established in their marketplace and were seeing positive growth.  Their reason for change varied; a marketing tactic to broaden their impact or appeal to customers, time for a change, a recent restructure, or because it was suggested by an “advisor”.

Unfortunately, many of the revised visions and values lacked substance, did not reflect the culture or attitude of the organisation, and exploited buzz words that held no true meaning for the business.  In most cases both the visions and values changed radically from what were previously established, and in several cases “advisors” provided encouragement to develop unrealistic or unsubstantiated goals based on the new vision.  The organisations and their management failed to appreciate that the systems and structure required to support these new initiatives were not present.  None of these initiatives changed the overall products and services offered by the businesses, and because they were not based on substance, were unlikely to be established well by these businesses.

If these organisations had asked their key stakeholders (their employees and customers) about these re-visions, more realistic and genuine outputs would probably have been developed, that reflected the long established values and the products or services that the customers continued to acquire.  As I shared last year, we do have to keep sharp, reviewing and revising the offerings and staying ahead of the competition to maintain and increase market share. But we don’t do this by discarding all of the things that matter to get on to a modern flavour or revolution.

Trust me, I love Strategy and Innovation, and I am a strong advocate of Values, but they all have to be established with an understanding of some foundational principles primarily associated with the Culture, products and services, and the people. I will explain more in the next instalment.