How to spot an ineffective org. values statement - easy - no conflict!
Organisational Values Statements are very popular these days as a way of lining up the people of the organisation behind a set of values which the organisation wishes to aspire to and be known for. However, in many of these statements the one thing which gives them real power has been left on the cutting room floor - conflict!
When you are constructing your values statement it always pays to remember the French national tripartite motto Liberté, égalité, fraternité meaning, of course, liberty, equality and fraternity.
There are three conflicts (or dilemmas as I prefer to call them) already built in:
• Liberty vs Equality
• Equality vs Fraternity
• Fraternity vs Liberty
For example, what happens to your Equality when my expression of Liberty results in me having much more than you have? Or when my personal Equality (human rights) overpowers my desire to show Fraternity (brotherhood) when you need my support.
Organisational values should not be designed to make us feel inspired but rather to help us reach difficult personal and unique decisions when we encounter daily operational and strategic dilemmas such as Customers vs Staff and Profits vs Organizational Health.
If your organisational values statement does not contain built-in conflicts, then it is nothing more than a cute placebo which will offer no help or comfort to you when the pressure is really on!
About Ken ThompsonKen Thompson is an expert practitioner, author and speaker on collaboration/high performing teams and game-based learning.
and has just published a new book on Leadership and Business Dilemmas.
Bioteams Books Reviews
If you think that there is not much human teams can learn from nature think again! Temple Grandin in her amazing book Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior (p303-307) puts forward the incredible theory that early humans only became today’s successful homo sapiens because they learned to act and think like the wolves they co-habited with.