Values define who you are as a business, what you stand for (and against), and what you are willing to fight for. This is important because it tells potential and existing employees and customers what you believe in and how you’ll behave, clearly defining this upfront in a meaningful way. And in this competitive world, the better we can do this through our values, the better chance we have of standing out from our competitors and attracting and retaining talent and customers.
To change these numbers we need our leaders to start leading from the top, for when it comes to company values – it all starts and stops from the top, with our leaders!
Start by making sure that your leaders fully understand your company values, don’t assume that they do. Ensure they know what they mean, how they impact their decisions and actions, and how they should and need to be lived. Take the time to help them understand them, making them more than words on a wall, but something they use over and over again as a filter for their decisions and actions.
Next, hold your leaders and managers accountable for role modelling and living your values – never ever let them off the hook for something this important. Remember, they are setting the tone and direction for others to follow, signalling what should and shouldn’t be done. If they’re not doing this, they’re taking their team down the wrong path!
And last, but certainly not least, is to be brave and let go of any of your leaders and managers who after all you’ve done to support and develop them are not role modelling your values. It’s the right thing to do for your business, and the right thing to do for your workforce. It may be difficult, but your values will never do what you need them to do if your entire workforce is not bringing them out to play.
Remember, we don’t want hypocrites leading our business, we want and need leaders who truly walk the walk, using values to help and guide them at every step.