• Riikka

Culture Building through Values

You know those Company Values that have nothing to do with reality? We've all been there!⁠⁠

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'Communication' when no-one talks to each other or ⁠'Disruptive' when any idea requires 3 levels of approvals.⁠⁠


I got tired of the whole concept of Values because I saw too much of the above!⁠⁠

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Yet you do need some core principles to build a culture intentionally rather than accidentally. ⁠⁠

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So now I forgive Values - they are not the problem. The problem is the way many companies create theirs. A bit of 'this is who we want to be, this is what we care about' but not connecting them with what the business stands for in reality and what it's there to achieve. ⁠⁠

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That starts the disconnect between the stated Values and the real values dictated by business needs. And with that disconnect, Values don't genuinely influence decisions and become just lip service. (That creates cynicism and disengagement, to the point that if your Values aren't ⁠⁠truly authentic and embedded, it's better not to have any).

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Instead, start with business goals and needs, plus your brand, and then add how you want it to feel working there. ⁠⁠

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We've just done this piece of work with a client and those are the things we mapped out. ⁠⁠

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🌄Where do we want to get to ⁠⁠

🌃How do we want to be perceived⁠⁠

🎆What do we deliver for clients⁠⁠

🌉What does this environment require of employees⁠⁠

💟What is the experience of working for us and with us⁠⁠

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If you have already done brand identity work, absolutely include it. I would use that as the starting point because you've already got answers to many of these questions from the external point of view - now the internal just needs to match.


When you brainstorm around those questions core themes emerge. (And I know it’s obvious to you to do this WITH your team rather than the leadership group in secret). Narrow down those themes down to the essence of the company. That's your Values/ Core Principles or whatever you choose to call them. ⁠⁠

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Then, use these principles to shape and prioritise your people practices - THAT is how you build intentional culture. ⁠⁠

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Examples from businesses I've worked with: ⁠⁠

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CARING for people's personal aspirations = building a development process supporting individual career paths⁠⁠

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FRIENDLY = using this tone of voice in all internal communication, down to policies and formal documents⁠⁠

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BUSINESS-MINDED = brought to life through people's objectives and sharing & discussing financial information⁠⁠


If you want to define your culture or make it more authentic, get in touch to talk about how we can help!


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Photo: 贝莉儿 DANIST on unsplash.com

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