Are your organisational values lived ….or simply laminated? A well-known Kiwi brand prominently displays its values on a huge sign just behind the service counter. When one of those values is something like ‘great customer service’, what am I supposed to make of the organisation when the person behind the counter is chatting on their mobile when I’m waiting for service?
How many other organisations spend hours and dollars coming up with a glorious list of values, only to have them go unnoticed, unheeded and un-lived? It’s easy to become cynical about such exercises when you go into a workplace and what you actually FEEL is ‘dull’, ‘stress and overwork’, ‘life-draining’, ‘depersonalising’. I’m pretty sure that nobody will have come up with those as the organisational values.
Sure, a lot of values statements encapsulate those things which organisations and the people within them aspire to. But aspirations don’t magically come to pass just because we want them to or because we ‘visualise’ them being true. The hard work of turning your workplace into a ‘best place to work’ comes on a daily basis. It’s similar to how you have to work at keeping fit and healthy. In the same way that you don’t get ‘fitness credits’ (i.e., “I don’t have to work out this week because I had 4 workouts last week”), you don’t get ‘values credits’ (“I had lots of integrity last week, so I can afford to be a little deceptive this week”). Each and every person in the organisation needs to be attentive to bringing the values alive….every day.
It’s not easy work; it requires increased self-awareness. It requires us to stop ourselves every so often and ask, “Is what I’m doing and how I’m doing it RIGHT NOW in line with the values I aspire to?….and if not, what do I need to shift in myself?…..my attitude? my behaviour?” It requires us to take a cold hard look in the mirror and wonder why we are doing something or how we are doing it. Challenging ourselves to live our lives in a congruent way, in a way that matches our aspirations and desires, is invigorating. It’s worth it!
Let’s see….what challenge will I rise to this week?