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Values Proposition: What Does Your Organization Care About?

Recently my company (KS&C) has been doing a great deal of work with leaders around their individual and organizational values, and tying values to employee engagement. As we see more and more interest in this approach to developing corporate cultures, I’ve been seeing values everywhere.

Values drive everything in organizations, from how we work together to how we make decisions to how we treat customers.  In my experience, many organizations say they have a set of values, but they aren’t accurate. Their espoused values don’t match the behavior of the organization’s employees. (So how do we close the gap?  I’m excited to say there is a way to do so that has been validated over the last thirty years. The Hall-Tonna Values Inventory is an assessment that allows us to see the gap between where an organization wants to be, and where they really are. But I digress! I promise to write about it in another entry soon.)

The above graphic is a visual representation of the core values of 50 banks. I am convinced that if we really did define our behaviors and our culture based on values, we would see increased productivity, engagement, AND we would reduce ethical violations and the kind of world-crushing, focus-on-profit-over-anything-else decisions that we see coming from big corporations on a regular basis.

Here’s an excerpt from co-founder of Fast Company and HBR blogger Bill Taylor. For the whole blog entry click here.

It’s always risky to look to great humanitarians for lessons about business, but something Mother Teresa said long ago strikes me as a pretty good epitaph for our disruptive times …….”We cannot do great things,” she famously told her followers, “only small things with great love.”

Yes, success today is about price, features, quality — pure economic value of the sort that requires you to rethink your strategy and business models. But it is also, and perhaps more importantly, about passion, emotion, identity — sharing your values. And all that requires is a way of doing business, a strategy for connecting with customers, that communicates who you are and what you care about.

As the value proposition gets rewritten in industry after industry, it’s organizations with an authentic values proposition that rise above the chaos and connect with customers. Few of us will ever do “great things” that remake companies and reshape industries. But all of us can do small things with great feeling and an authentic sense of emotion.

What’s your values proposition?

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