How to drive a compelling set of values

by Miklos Bolza24 Jun 2016
“Having a clear set of values will become a business imperative as opposed to a nice-to-have. This is a very interesting challenge for CEOs and organisational leaders.”
Martijn Schouten, director of PwC South East Asia Consulting (SEAC), said that a starting point to developing these values was having more awareness and consciousness of how they are seen throughout the organisation.
“We can see beautifully framed posters with company values hanging in the corridors but what matters is to what extent everyday behaviour is really aligned with these values.”
It is important for CEOs and HR to understand how the “the way we do things” is lined up with the values deemed important.
“What are the gaps between what we say or put on posters and how we behave? How I behave as a leader – how does that align with the values I think are important for our organisation?”
Because corporate culture is linked to a group of values, transforming these values and transforming the leadership is often a starting point to demonstrate the right type of behaviour, he said.
Once awareness has been raised, both HR and the CEO can then bring up a discussion about the difference between the stated values and the behaviour being demonstrated daily.
“A way to raise the dialogue and address behaviour is to find good examples of what we like to call ‘moments of matter’.”
For instance if integrity is important, find examples of actions that demonstrate this quality, Schouten said. This will give an example to align the rest of the organisation with these values.
“We see organisations that really take this seriously. They start with leadership transformation and then use that as a stepping stone to demonstrate to staff about how they need to behave and align with the company’s values.”
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  • by DSC44 15/12/2016 11:14:41 AM

    Yes, values define the meaning of right and wrong within any organization.

    First, when an organization already exists you can not successfully introduce a new set of values as a new culture. The reason that culture trumps strategy is because of the strength of the values of the founder will outlast and be his or her legacy.

    Second, the CEO has to own and be accountable for the values by ensuring the all decisions and all aspects of the strategy and talent policies as consistent with the behaviours that define the values.

    Third, you can't ask what the values should be as they already exist. You need as the article states examples of when, in difficult times, a person lived the values inside the company.

    Fourth, Integrity is not a value it is the sum total of living the values

    Fifth, you drive your company values because leaders exemplify in their actions the definition of the values.

    Sixth, taking a values survey or test based on a Western consult will be misleading in Singapore or SouthEast Asia. Consider this the correct action for the values of RESPECT in the United States is speaking up, RESPECT in The Gulf Region is processing an idea with the community first, finally in SouthEast Asia RESPECT is about social distance with the boss. So Respect in the USA is disagreeing with the boss in a meeting when the idea comes up from the boss while in Asia respect is nodding your head yes while you mean no. So please don't use definitions or values word surveys that are developed in the USA or Europe. They will not capture values in a meaningful way locally.

    Values exist in people. People make up the company. People values don't change because someone asks them to change. Therefore company values can't change because you think they should.

    To answer the question directly. HR can not and should not create the values. The CEO if they are the founder they create the values. The subsequent CEOS have to evolve them, over time. Just ensure that all decisions, at all levels, at all times, without exception or making excuses, the behaviours that define the values are lived and celebrated every day.

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