[Q&A] How can we facilitate values creation?

Aug 25, 2023

Q: How can we facilitate values creation?

A: Values are so important as they’re the organizational expression of behavior that you expect to see in practice. There are a few ways to identify and facilitate the creation of your values, so check out the video for a helpful values exercise!

Great question! Here are a few of the best answers from our Strategy Collaborative Q&A Session!

Values create part of the foundation of any successful organization – and they’re pivotal in driving change and unifying teams.

Values statements are an expression of a behavior that you expect to see when that value is in practice. Facilitating the creation of these values should be a collaborative process that engages your whole team.

There are many ways to facilitate the creation of values – in fact, so many that we’re not going to cover them all in this post! But make sure to check out the exercise Erica covers in the video above!

Instead, here are a few tips to consider as you facilitate the creation of your values.

Tip 1: Outline Values in a Dedicated Time Block or Workflow.

Sometimes, values are lumped together with the mission and vision aspect of strategic direction setting. Or they are created as an afterthought.

Your values creation should be created in a dedicated process on their own so that your team can spend time thinking through the values that define your organization.

Tip 2: Start With Who You Admire.

Patrick Lencioni has a few prompting questions in his Team Effectiveness Exercises that can easily be applied to the creation of your organizational values. Open your facilitation meeting with the questions:

  • “Who in our organization, past or present, embodies the best things about our organization?”
  • “What are 3-4 values or traits that make them so admired?”

Similar to the questions stated above, run an exercise with your team called, “The Best Team Ever” and have your group discuss what teams they’ve worked with in the past that had attributes that made them the best team to work with.

Call out unwanted behaviors

Conversely, it’s also useful to call out values that don’t align to the mission and vision. Run a similar exercise that identifies current behaviors that foster values that don’t serve the organization. It illustrates not only the behaviors we do want, but also the behaviors we don’t want.

4 Basic steps to values creation

  1. Begin with this question as a brainstorming exercise where your whole team can contribute. Write down the words and phrases the team comes up with.
  2. Synthesize the top 3-5 keywords and break into groups to draft these words into themes.
  3. Identify key behaviors you’d expect to see from people when following these attributes.
  4. Rephrase these attributes and behaviors into value statements.

Tip 3: Decide your Facilitation Approach – Remote or In-Person approach

Deciding the best way to get your team together and aligned within the facilitation process can be tricky. Is it better to do this fully remote or fully in person?

The answer really depends on the needs of your organization. Whether you do the facilitation on Zoom with breakout rooms, or in person during your next strategic planning meeting, is up to you.

Some teams may even find it beneficial to do a hybrid approach. Regardless of how you choose to facilitate the process, make sure to experiment with innovative technology that can help you engage your team better.

Use digital tools such as Miro Board during this brainstorming process to help facilitate remote, in-person, or even hybrid meetings. These tools can help you engage your team in ways that a physical whiteboard and sticky notes can’t.

Tip 4: Consider a Refresh Instead of Replacement

Your overall organizational values shouldn’t change once they’re set, but they should be revisited and addressed periodically. Over time, as the organizational landscape changes, values might need refreshing. Sometimes one value may be prioritized at a certain point and sometimes another may be the focus for that time.

Regular value surveys can provide insights into what values still connect (or may not connect) us with who we are as an organization and how to address and re-align them.

After a major event, like a pandemic or a merger, assessing and refreshing values helps align everyone. However, this doesn’t mean discarding the foundational values, but rather realigning or emphasizing what’s needed in the current context.

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of ways to facilitate values creation – but the most important thing you can do is make sure you have them clearly identified.

Additional Resources to Consider



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