Over recent years many of us have become aware of the importance in sharing the purpose behind our work and organization. But what about our company values?
Simon Sinek’s book ‘Start with Why’ shared the power of connecting every employee to an organization’s purpose and identified that employees will do a better job and have a higher level of commitment when they believe in the organization and its purpose. Now it’s time to take this one step further and look at company values with more intent and focus.
I recently saw a quote (which I can’t seem to find again to reference) which said something like ‘Enron had values of trust, accountability and integrity on their walls too’. This line stayed with me and got me thinking. Then I started to see some of the work other organizations, particularly in the tech field, are doing with Culture Decks that help them better define who they are and attract top talent.
At Acuity, we’ve spent a lot of time as a team clarifying our purpose as we’ve grown and evolved, but not necessarily our values. This last year, we revisited our values for the first time in our 5 years of business. Our old values were pretty standard – it listed things like integrity, passion and innovation. But those don’t really tell you much about who we are, do they? And they sound a bit like every other organization I’ve worked for. Sometimes these kind of values are just tokens of what we think we should say or be. And all the values we previously had listed (like integrity and innovation) are good values, so why overthink it, right?
We spent some time thinking about it as a team and decided that values like honesty, integrity and trust are table stakes in our business – the bare minimum. They are so foundational we don’t mention them in our list of core behaviours/values anymore. What we do talk about are our core values in terms of who we are, how we work together and how we get stuff done.
We cover off on things like:
- We do the right thing.
- We hire the very best.
- We have our clients’ best interests at heart.
- We take ownership.
- We elevate our clients’ organizations and each other at every opportunity.
- We have high standards.
- We value openness.
- We are highly collaborative.
- Fit matters.
Have a better idea of who we are and how we get things done? We go into detail on each of the above points in our Culture Deck (check out our deck here) and define what each of those values means at Acuity. It was fun to get creative in describing who we are and how we get things done as a team. It is satisfying to know who we are and see values that reflect our organizational culture and style.
So, what are the real values for your organization? Not the ones written 10 years ago, but the ones that reflect who you are and how you get work done today?
For more Culture Deck ideas check out this link featuring some of the most prominent brands and their decks.
Jane Helbrecht is a Partner at Acuity HR Solutions. She leads the training and development function with a focus on Acuity’s Intentional People Leadership training program.