There is no rule that defines what every organization’s core values need to be, no right or wrong. Values represent the principles that an organization is going to follow to help them achieve their vision. Many companies use words like respect, collaboration, customer-centric, quality and team as their values. Others of a different type use words like hard-charging, aggressive, take-no-prisoners and competitive as theirs. Again there is no right or wrong.
But to achieve those values, a company must define the behaviors that support them. And then must insure that there is consistency in those behaviors’ definitions. The latter set described above sounds perfect for a competitive athlete or ex-military who have come from that type of culture. But the behaviors required still need to be defined and where the lines are drawn needs to be made clear. Clearly nobody would recommend actually killing or harming a competitor; or threatening a customer into purchasing more. Yet on the surface the values could be interpreted as consistent with such behaviors.
Values are often words on a plaque or in a strategic plan. But they are brought to life and ingrained in the culture through the behaviors that truly define them. And the organization will stand or fall based on how well the values and behaviors are enforced. Accountability cannot be selective- it must be uniform.
Values, behaviors, and accountability are a package in successful organizations. Are your values empty words or the real deal?