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Why Nobody Cares About Company Values

Values? What values?

Working with leaders in the past eight years, helping them design and/or reinforce company cultures aligned with the values, taught me one thing.

Nobody cares about the vision, mission, and values.

Every leader complains about the same thing, "People don't know what our values or mission is". Why?

Because most of the time, they hold no real purpose or meaning. They are confusing and complicated. Just look at Starbucks' mission statement. I am lost.

In addition, leaders themselves lost sight of them, needing help translating them into action. I dare you to ask a leader or a manager what the company's core values are and to give you an example of how this will be used in decision-making. You will have fun:-)

The feedback I once gave to a leader was that his teams said they had no values. He got upset (of course), saying, "We have values," to which I replied, "You have posters of values on the walls."

Guess what! People don't learn values from posters. They need to see them in action every day!

Core values outline:

- How people within the organisation should behave or conduct themselves

- How they make decisions, especially when the decision is hard

- How work should be done

These are actions, not philosophical quotes we should be reminded of every now and then. Company values should be at the centre of what we do, but they are not, which is why your staff couldn't care about them.

Leaders are the cause of company values are just decorative posters on our walls. They taught employees not to pay attention to them, so blaming them for following instructions is unfair.

But you can start reinforcing them simply by asking the question, "How does this align with our values?" when you need to make a decision or your staff is playing up.

I used to do that, it was fun, but people hated it:-). Once, we were sitting doing talent calibration. One of the employee's private matters was mentioned, to which I just said, "That's not very respectful", Respect being one of our values.

These small actions can go a long way. Values are in your everyday actions, what you say, and how you make decisions. If you don't do that, you might as well remove those posters.

Need help with your culture? Contact us.

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