Organizational Leadership: It’s a Question of Value(s)
As high-performing organizations set about the work of strategic planning and leadership, they invariably begin with a determination of their organizational values. As much as objectives, strategies, tactics, and mission statements matter, organizational values define an item of critical importance: how we will go about our business.
These work-related behaviors are at the very core of your belief system. Properly articulated, they establish non-negotiable rules of engagement on behalf of all stakeholders. They define how we will conduct ourselves with each other internally and externally and under all circumstances be they favorable or otherwise.
Unlike a vision statement, values are not something to which we aspire. Quite the contrary. They communicate a core ideology which measures organizational performance by behavioral norms which are current, constant, and enduring.
It’s one thing to talk about the importance of values-based leadership. The hard part often comes at the intersection of idealism and the realities of business. For those select organizations who chose to formalize and operationalize them, they can serve as a steadfast guidepost for behavior and decision-making.
As a company introduces new strategies in response to changing business conditions, competition, and technology, values provide assurance that what the company stands for at its core will not change. Absent a company’s ability to define and communicate them, its vision and mission are likely to struggle under the strain of inconsistent planning, priorities, decision-making, and leadership.
Here are five key questions to ask of your leadership team on the subject of values:
- Does your company have established core values that guide organizational behaviors?
- How were these values created? Did it involve a cross-section of the organization’s team members?
- Are these values widely communicated across the organization? How?
- Are your organizational values considered when recruiting/interviewing potential new hires?
- Are your values tied to organizational behaviors which are part of every employee’s performance evaluation?
Stated values can be a powerful resource in helping to build a winning organizational culture. For a sample statement of values, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joseph P. Truncale, Ph.D., CAE, is the Founder and Principal of Alexander Joseph Associates, a privately held consultancy specializing in executive business advisory services with clients throughout the graphic communications industry.
Joe spent 30 years with NAPL, including 11 years as President and CEO. He is an adjunct professor at NYU teaching graduate courses in Executive Leadership; Financial Management and Analysis; Finance for Marketing Decisions; and Leadership: The C Suite Perspective. He may be reached at Joe@ajstrategy.com. Phone or text: (201) 394-8160.