Values are important, not only to have, but to execute against. They are important to share, to be talked about, to be lived out. They will change, slightly, over time but if anything they mature as the individual person matures.
Organizational values are like that of individual values except that there is a greater importance of modeling them and a distinct focus on the collaboration of others to create corporately understood values and value systems.
Things like honesty, integrity, trust, and respect are common values for most if not all organizations. The companies that I have built have always had these few as bedrocks, like many other businesses.
But the difference between the company that I work for and your company (or a company you’ve once worked for) is that we actually practice our values and we talk about them all the time. I’ve never been part of an organization where that is so central to our culture and leadership. It is rather refreshing.
I believe that our greatest asset is not our intellectual property but our relational equity with each other – that is, we are strong as a company because we are strong as a team and we care for one another and each other’s families. We’re not perfect but we’re making every attempt to be that as best as we can.
This is seen most simply by the questions that we ask of each other and how we engage with each other on a daily and weekly basis. In our respective campuses and spheres of influence I observe the team connecting with each other and asking questions related to their personal lives rather than just their professional ones. When one of our teammates is visibly not at their top performance (or is virtually scarce) we’ll pick up the phone and give them a call.
This isn’t about productivity; this is about compassion, empathy, and understanding.
We live our values, they define us, and they are most certainly real.