Photosynthesizing Your Company Values.

Aug 01, 2014

The roots of a tree are essential to its survival. They keep it in place, unwavering while also providing the essential nutrients and water it needs to thrive.

Your values statements are the roots of your organization.  They serve your foundation while providing the culture and passion that allows you to thrive. The most successful organizations are those whose core values are at the root of everything they do.

Much like vision and mission statements, values statements are only useful if they are in daily use. It’s essential to create a values statement that reflects the culture and community you want your organization to live by.

Grow your values statement, organically.

Whether you’re creating a values statement for the first time or reevaluating it during strategic planning, it’s important that you involve everyone in your organization in this exercise.

Inherently, asking everyone in your organization what your values should be is a very personal question. As a result, this isn’t a conversation that can be had around a board-room table. Doing so won’t allow for individuals to equally contribute, leaving your new values statement unable to reflect how your employees actually feel.

Anonymizing these questions in the form of a survey will give everyone an opportunity to let their thoughts and emotions flow naturally. Without the force of group-think or fear, you’ll be able to collect the unbiased opinions of everyone in your company.

Watering the seed.

Once you’ve collected these responses, synthesize the data and identify common themes. Select 4-7 values that your team has identified as important to your organization. Then, transform these statements into a values statement. Since they are shared among your organization, your values statement can truly reflect the way you operate on a day-to-day basis.

Once you’ve crafted your values statement, it’s important to remember you must water the seed to implant it in your organization. Use it during employee training, professional development, rewards system, and any other process which will help grow it within your organizational culture. A values statement left on a shelf website won’t bloom and thrive within your organization.

Here are two values statements we think are pretty good:

Coca-Cola:
Our values serve as a compass for our actions and describe how we behave in the world.

  • Leadership: The courage to shape a better future
  • Collaboration: Leverage collective genius
  • Integrity: Be real
  • Accountability: If it is to be, it’s up to me
  • Passion: Committed in heart and mind
  • Diversity: As inclusive as our brands
  • Quality: What we do, we do well

Zappos.com:

  • Embrace and Drive Change: Part of being in a growing company is that change is constant.
  • Be Humble: While we have grown quickly in the past, we recognize that there are always challenges ahead to tackle.
  • Pursue Growth and Learning: We think it’s important for employees to grow both personally and professionally.
  • Be Passionate and Determined: Passion is the fuel that drives us and our company forward.

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