Leading On Management: Values On A Wall

I see company values all the time. I see them in reception areas. I see them on brochures and on websites, and I see them on noticeboards. I see the words…but is that enough?

Many organisations have values. They underpin the vision and the mission. They describe what is important to the company. They tell you what you cvaluesonthewallan expect in terms of the way everyone behaves and how they do business, and what you should see and feel when you walk round. They are a great way of bringing everyone together to work in the same direction, providing that is, that everyone has bought into them, everyone knows them, and everyone is behaving in accordance with them.

Whenever I see values I don’t take them as a given. I like to see evidence…in one such company as I walked round I asked random people what the values were. No-one knew them…and they were everywhere. They were on the noticeboards, mouse-mats, desk-tops and on their coffee mugs, and they had very quickly become nothing more than wall paper.

Which begs the question, why have them at all?

So, if values are so important – how do we land them so everyone is bought in?

1. Write them together

Not always easy or possible, especially in a large organisation, but try and involve as many people as possible in a working party. The values should reflect what is important to the organisation and the people in it.

2. Try and describe the culture

What is it like to work around here? What do you do well naturally? Do you pride yourself in your customer service? Is it a fun place to be? Capture the essence of your culture in your values too. This will make it all the more relevant to everyone and much easier to keep them alive.

3. Measure people against the values

Instead of just launching your values and ticking the box, incorporate them into everything. Talk about them at performance reviews and one to one meetings. How are your teams doing at living the values? What examples have you got for a job well done?

4. Bring them alive at inductions and at meetings

Inductions are a great way to introduce a new team member to how the company operates. So, talk about your values. Describe why they are important, how they came to be and show some examples of values in action. Ask your new recruits to come up with their own ideas and share them with their teams. Bring them alive in stories and real life examples in your team meetings too.

5. Less is more

You don’t need to plaster your values everywhere. They should be so much more than words on a mouse mat. They are the heart of the organisation and reflect the people that work there. For them to really work they need to be part of the culture, and should be seen and felt around the company. Keep them alive by talking about them, demonstrating them and role model the way.

Barbara Nixon

Barbara Nixon

Management Development Trainer, Coach and Writer at Barbara Nixon
Barbara Nixon is a passionate learning and development specialist who gets a real kick out of seeing people develop and grow. Barbara is Director of Synaptic Change – a UK based training consultancy that designs and delivers bespoke management development programmes, and then embeds the learning back into the workplace -which is something that she is very passionate about. Although Barbara loves working with organisations and teams she also came to realise that not everyone has access to development programmes at work, and not everyone wants to share their aspirations with their boss – so Managers Mentor was born. An online space dedicated to motivating, developing and supporting others to achieve the success that they’re looking for in their role and career. In her spare time Barbara has 4 kids, grows veg to varying degrees of success and loves to read.
Barbara Nixon
Barbara Nixon



1 Comment

  • June 11, 2014


    Korebuilders Thanks for sharing Bnixon article on #bealeader – Cheers.