For years now I have been studying and working inside organisations, helping people to clarify and align with their personal values. In fact, in supporting organisations to lift their performance I recommend placing far more energy and investment into supporting people to clarify their personal values than working on creating a set of organisational values.
Don’t get me wrong, I do recommend creating company values, but you should understand and be very clear that you will never get the most from company values if you don’t allow people to align their own personal values to those values.
Why? Because organisations don’t truly have values, only human beings do, and the company’s values will only be effective if employees can align their values with the company’s values. Bottom line is that peoples’ personal values are more influential in terms of their performance than the company’s values.
Personal values have such a powerful impact because they provide each of us with four key performance drivers. These are:
- Direction: Our values tell us what to pay attention to and what to ignore.
- Certainty: Our values enable us to sort out our priorities and be sure we can focus on the most important things at any given time, in any given place.
- Momentum: Values get us moving. We are motivated and act based on our values.
- Fulfilment: Having decided what to pay attention to, and being certain we have our priorities sorted and having taken action, our personal values are what makes achieving a result or a goal meaningful. We evaluate success through our values which gives us a deep sense of fulfilment.
An organisation’s values, IF aligned with an individual’s personal values, will deliver these same four benefits. If they are not aligned with the person’s personal values, then the personal values will win the drivers seat for directing the individual’s level of performance.
Cultural Question For Consideration.
How many people in your organisation know their personal values and how they align to their role in the company and with the organisation’s values?