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Posted by Sarah Brown on 31 May '16

Values can make you more profitable

Having values that are understood and translated into action can increase profits by 147% and lots of companies recognise that they have a problem

Interestingly as we worked through the Responsible Organisation Charter(c) with people on our stand at the Buy Yorkshire show this month the main issue that kept on coming up was a lack of clarity about values, their translation into behaviour and how they should be prioritised. This fits with data from Chet Holmes International that 87% of the workforce worldwide is not engaged at work. If people feel motivated by “this is the way we do things around here” then they are likely to be engaged. The importance of this is clear when you see that according to Gallup, companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share.

Values set priorities and ways of acting, even if you haven’t identified clear values your staff will guess at the values of the company and they will follow them if they are unspecified.

Clarifying the value system and breathing life into it are the greatest contributions a leader can make.. Every excellent company we studied is clear on what it stands for, and takes the process of value shaping seriously. In fact, we wonder whether it is possible to be an excellent company without clarity on values and without have the right sort of values.

In Search of Excellence by Peters and Waterman

‘In Search of Excellence’ was written in 1982 and if it was true then, how much more is it true now?

It is scientifically proven that behaviour is contagious whether it be good or bad so once good behaviour based on values becomes the norm it will be adopted by new staff as the organisation grows. But scarily bad behaviour is just as contagious, I took over a sales force, for example, where it was custom and practise to inflate expenses claims. Legally I could do nothing about the past as it had been the accepted custom! I had to change the values going forward.

In reality, all organisations are values-driven. The critical issue is whether these values are conscious, shared and lived, or remain unconscious and undiscussed. When values are not defined, the culture of the organisation is subject to the vagaries of the personality of the leader. When the leader changes, the values will change accordingly.


The key role of the leadership of a company is to create clarity and understanding about what are the values of the business and how these translate into actions. These need to be understood and shared by everyone so that when the leader is not there, which is most of the time, they are still are applied.

The values of an organisation set the rules by which it lives and define the corporate personality and the culture.

No matter how far reaching a leader’s vision or how brilliant the strategy, neither will be realised if it is not supported by an organisation’s culture

Luther Johnson

As Peter Drucker says “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. However good the vision or strategy everything starts with the values that drive the behaviour in the company which is why it is the first section we start with on the Responsible Organisation Charter.

If everyone lives by the same rules, the same values then people trust each other. If there are not shared values then at the extreme there is anarchy and generally people do not feel part of a coherent whole. Shared positive values give the people in a company a feeling of belonging and engagement. If you want to get your values embedded into your business we can help.

More you may find interesting:

Why you need to rank your values to radically change your business

Are your company values working?

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Tags: values 21st century business