Your business values consist of all of the behaviours that exist within your business – not just the positive values you want to have, but also negative or neutral behaviours that are being acted out.
Values and behaviours are closely linked to your company culture and can have an impact on those within as well as outside of your business. Understanding the current values and behaviours that are active within your business can help you traget which ones you would like to continue to reinforce and reward, and which ones you hope to change or add to your business (i.e. what types of behaviours do we hope to see in the future?)
One exercise you can do with your team is to create a two column list with your current values and behaviours on one side, and your desired values on the other. Once the list has been created, your senior leadership team can evaluate the top behaviours that you would like to encourage, along with the values and behaviours that do not support your business’s vision.
Once you have defined the top values and behaviours that will support your business’s future, you can develop ways to encourage each behaviour.
For example, if customer service excellence is one of your desired business values, which specific behaviours and actions would represent this? To put it another way, when looking at “Customer Service Excellence”, which specific actions demonstrate this value?
Following this process, it is important to clearly articulate to the rest of your team what these behaviours and expectations are. It’s also key that alongside the clear communication of expectations, values are also reinforced and modelled by the leadership team i.e. walking the walk. This will help to support what you what to achieve and to help desired values and behaviours “stick” in the future.
Your business may have the best product or service, a strong competitive advantage, and a great plan to move forward, but if your people are not aligned on the business values, you may experience friction that prevents productivity as well as project and strategy implementation.
In contrast, a well aligned team who understands the business’s vision, purpose and values have a better opportunity to be a strong performing team that can help propel the business forward.