Values statements are not meant to just be thrown up on your organization’s website. They’re a set of standards that explain what your organization believes in. Values statements are meant to articulate how you operate as an organization and build your organization’s culture.
So, are your values really helping drive the organizational culture you set out to create or are they just a set of meaningless phrases left to decay on your website or in print somewhere?
We recently saw an article from Buffer about the process they used to measure whether they were living up to their values. They followed this four-step process and their results were rather surprising:
- Set up a survey asking for feedback about your values and send it to your employees. In Buffer’s example, they asked their employees how they rate how the organization is living each value on a sliding scale of 1-10.
- Analyze the results and take a good look at your grades. Take a big step back and look at what your employees are saying about how you’re living out your values. You might be surprised to find low scores on a value you’ve worked hard to embody. You also might have a hunch about what values your organization struggles with day-to-day; either way, take a good look at your data and analyze the results.
- Have your leadership brainstorm ways to improve low scoring values. Think about both big and small changes you can inflict to improve the way your organization operates against your core values. Some changes might be big, others might be small. Culture and day-to-day operations can be difficult to change, so it’s not a bad idea to start small and work your way into bigger changes.
- Act on it. Don’t just talk about how you can improve your organization to align with your values; walk the walk. Embody them. Make the changes you need to make so your employees clearly identify and align your organization’s actions with your core values.
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In Buffer’s case, they made both big and small changes to improve how their employees interact and embody their core values on a day-to-day basis. Some changes were easier than others, but each was enacted to help build their organization’s culture around action rather than the idea of action.