False ideals can be dangerous

Cor­po­rate val­ues are im­por­tant. How­ev­er, if they are not prop­er­ly an­chored, a com­pa­ny can lose its cred­i­bil­i­ty in one fell swoop. How to avoid this? Be hon­est. And work thor­ough­ly.

Val­ues and ideals are part of the busi­ness world — com­pa­nies use val­ues not on­ly to strength­en prod­uct fea­tures, but al­so for im­age pur­pos­es and to lead their own em­ploy­ees. Val­ues can make a com­pa­ny more suc­cess­ful. And this is noth­ing bad per se. Nev­er­the­less, you ought to be care­ful if you want to re­main au­then­tic.

The sell­out of val­ues

In the last years, there has been a ver­i­ta­ble bat­tle for prop­er val­ue propo­si­tions among com­pa­nies: if you rep­re­sent the most no­ble val­ues you win the war for tal­ents.

Com­pa­nies with­out mis­sion state­ments are prac­ti­cal­ly non-ex­is­tent. How­ev­er, there is a dan­ger: one can make up val­ues and pre­tend to be their prop­er in­ten­tions and con­vic­tions. On­ly to be a part of it. Are the val­ues re­al? That ap­pears to be sec­ondary. And this is ex­act­ly the prob­lem: you can sud­den­ly find your­self in some sort of val­ue bub­ble, which is go­ing to bursts at some point. And then you will have lost all cred­i­bil­i­ty.

Blood, sweat and tears

Pro­found changes take time and they can hurt. This means that they are re­al and that they can func­tion. Deep-scale im­ple­men­ta­tions of new stan­dards or de­f­i­n­i­tions of val­ues work ex­act­ly the same way. Well, they may not hurt. But they cost ef­fort. And that is a good thing.

Start at the be­gin­ning

In or­der for the de­fined val­ues to be sus­tained and lived by all, we have to start at the very be­gin­ning: How do we see our­selves, how do we want to be seen? How do we treat each oth­er, what goals do we want to achieve? To find out these things, it is im­por­tant to in­volve the en­tire team or at least an ex­tend­ed lead­er­ship group. New process­es must be de­fined or new jobs cre­at­ed, as well as brain­storm­ings and work­shops, in or­der for the in­for­ma­tion to flow, so that all lev­els are in­te­grat­ed and feed­backs are pos­si­ble. And do not for­get the cus­tomers: To which ben­e­fit or ser­vice promise should our com­pa­ny be mea­sured?

Pure­ly a man­age­ment is­sue?

Im­posed val­ues can nev­er be in­ter­nalised, be­cause if they are im­posed they can­not be val­ues. And yet cor­po­rate val­ues are kind of a man­age­r­i­al is­sue, since not all peo­ple have the same val­ues: they can­not just float around as part of the com­pa­ny strat­e­gy. They need to be com­mu­ni­cat­ed clear­ly and be­come bind­ing parts of the strat­e­gy. In the pre­lim­i­nary process, democ­ra­cy and par­tic­i­pa­tion can be help­ful, even nec­es­sary. When it comes to con­crete im­ple­men­ta­tion, they do have their lim­its.

With the right kind of part­ner

As with any or­gan­ism, small parts play an im­por­tant role for the big pic­ture whole. Things can on­ly change, if all the de­part­ments are co­or­di­nat­ed and op­ti­mal­ly at­tuned to one an­oth­er. There­fore, start at the bot­tom. You need the right foun­da­tion in or­der to build on it. Don’t bur­den your­self with too much, but look for a com­pe­tent part­ner that speaks your lan­guage. To­geth­er you can tack­le this al­leged Her­culean task. Step by step. From scratch, ac­cu­rate­ly and con­sis­tent­ly.

Bild: Pixabay CC0

Published 25.10.2017 © Brandsoul AG


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Mauro Werlen


Talks with his hands, uses images in his mind to structure the world around him.

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