Every organization has values. The challenge, however, is that these are usually different from those written on the poster. The gap between espoused values and how people actually behave in organizations is largely a function of five factors.

  1. Values are a ‘how to’ not a ‘where to’. When we say, “this is our vision, and these are our values” we position them as an aspiration. We might as well say “We hope we have integrity one day.”
  2. Our values are sometimes in conflict with our aspirations. We may value consistency, but if our vision is to be the most innovative company in our industry, then we have misalignment.
  3. Living by stated values requires courage; it’s usually easier to go with the flow than to be clear and unapologetic about what we stand for.
  4. We judge ourselves by our noble intentions, but we judge everyone else by their actions. In effect, we have a lower standard for ourselves than we do for others.
  5. We all have different rules that determine how we experience a particular value. Usually, these rules are unspoken and even unconscious.

The simplest and most effective way to bring our values to life is to turn them into standards. Standards are the agreed rules for our values. When we declare our values, we are essentially answering the question “What do we really value?”

If we want to define our standards, however, we must ask “What do those values really mean?” “How would we know if we were living our values?” “What would we see?” The answer to these three questions represents the pathway to living shared values every day.

Inspiration from others

“The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.” – Ray Kroc

“The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.” – David Morrison

Questions to reflect on

  • What do your values really mean?
  • How aligned is the behaviour in your team to your espoused values?
  • How would you know and what would you see if team members lived your values every day?

If you would like to bring your values to life, you can take a complimentary 30-day trial of my leadership app, Enixa, at www.enixa.co. If you would like to use Enixa to create more leaders in your team or organisation, contact [email protected].

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about PETER

For two decades, Dr. Peter Fuda has been a Sherpa to leaders, teams and organizations across the globe. He’s coached more than 250 CEOs to measurably higher levels of performance. His consulting company has delivered dozens of cases of business transformation and thousands of individual cases of leadership transformation, at a success rate of greater than 90%.

Find out more about Peter

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I introduced Enixa to my top 100 leaders to create more capability and alignment across the team. Within a few short months, its powerful impact was evident, individually and collectively.

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