Chances are, at some point you sat down with your team to declare values for your organization. You filled flip charts. You debated wording. You distilled down to 5, 7, or (oy!) 10 values crucial to your continued success.
And then what? Maybe you had the values printed on a poster or mouse pad. Results? Nada.
Yet for other companies, their Values became a touchstone, a crucial guide to making decisions when the going gets rough.
What makes the difference between Values that matter and Values that don’t?
People across companies say their values matter when they are:
- Relevant to real people at all levels (test: Can you purchasing assistant and COO both use these values to guide their toughest decisions?)
- Linked to the company’s fundamental strategy (test: If your people acted on these Values more often, your business model would be executed more fully, and in the long run your company would be more profitable)
- Visible (test: Your most senior leaders and front line managers ask at least weekly how a proposal in front of them stacks up against the Values)
How do your organization’s Values stack up?
In case it’s helpful for you, I’ve copied for you below our values for IdeaShape. We set these values 11 years ago – and they continue to guide us today.
Lever For Results
Our clients are capable people who want to make big things happen in their professional and personal lives. We don’t kid ourselves that clients “need” us. Rather, they choose to engage us as an additional instrument for their success, a vehicle to accelerate their progress. (This is actually the heritage of the word “coach,” something that conveys people on their journey.) We work with clients to ensure that we are placed for maximum leverage — right client, right goals, right issues, right time.
In managing IdeaShape, we make extensive use of leverage. We design our business processes to be simple for us and our clients. Our virtual team of collaborators and assistants enables us to move rapidly and efficiently to support client opportunities. To challenge and refresh our own thinking, we also keep in close touch with wise people in diverse fields such as leadership research, neuroscience, business strategy, positive psychology, organizational development, and adventure learning.
Inquiry, Innovation, and Growth
Our work is to facilitate discovery. We help clients explore their inner terrain to acknowledge their talents and articulate their intentions. We create ways for them to inquire into their behavior and the impact it has on others. And we help clients see more clearly the conditions of their organizations, markets, and communities so they can choose behaviors and strategies more intentionally.
At IdeaShape we fuel this cycle of inquiry, innovation, and growth. Inquiry — asking questions and looking with fresh eyes — leads to new insights. These insights, coupled with a willingness to experiment, drive innovation. New ways of being, behaving, and organizing enable tremendous personal and business growth. And growth places us at a vantage point for fresh inquiry and further achievement.
We work with deep regard for our clients and colleagues. We honor their wisdom, rejoice in their growth, and stand with them in their struggles. We encourage their pursuit of the best they choose to be, and we speak up when we notice they are off the path they set for themselves.
We hold ourselves in similar regard. We are thrilled at our achievements and honest about our mistakes … and we actively seek feedback so we’re clear on which is which. Gratitude, humor, and humility keep us open to all we have to learn.
Ever conscious of the trust our clients place in us, we act in ways that earn and deepen that trust. We work with clients and collaborators for whom integrity is essential. We assume responsibility for our own actions and work with clients who are likewise responsible.
Sometimes ethical issues are complex. So here, too, we partner with our clients. For example, we work with the sponsors of our corporate coaching to create clear agreements about confidentiality. Our touchstones include respect for privacy, individual control over their own information, and honest communication.
Joy in Service
This business is a complete joy to us. We help clients grasp their fondest potential and lead their organizations for greater achievement. We contribute to the health of the coaching profession by mentoring new practitioners and building vibrant communities of learning. And we shape our own professional lives to serve deeply satisfying personal lives.