Your Behavior Reveals Your Values

By Ann Elliott

Companies frequently state integrity as one of their values in doing business. Sounds good but what does it really mean? Merriam-Webster defines integrity, a noun, as the following:
  • Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.
  • The state of being unimpaired; soundness.
  • The quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness.
It is impossible to adhere to something that you have not identified.  Nice, high-minded words sound good.  We expect that from companies that get our business. The better question may be more like what do they value?  Really value. values Consider the non-negotiable, core values for your company. Do safety, profitability, reliable products, fun, and happy customers make the list, for example? Careful that you keep your core values to a small list of 2 – 3, not a laundry list. It is important for all the values align with each other. Unless they are aligned, achieving one diminishes another.  For example, valuing profitability is admirable.  Without profits, you will not be in business for long to provide a product or service to make your customers happy–to say nothing of gainful employment for your people.  However, to sacrifice safety for profitability is very costly.  Knowing safety is taking a back seat to profits would not make the company a very fun place to work. A list of 2 -3-core values makes it easy to understand them and to identify when behavior and values align.  Patrick Lencioni author of The Advantage [2012] says that core values are apparent when they are an inherent and natural trait that has been apparent in the organization for a long time.  Reminds me of the adage “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you are saying.” When behavior aligns with values, it is much easier for everyone.  It is an energy drain to say one thing and do another.  It takes its toll on not only the employees but also customers and ultimately the company. Follow these six steps to align values and behavior:
  1. Use the metrics of long standing behavior to assess your core values
  1. Determine what you intend to create and write your vision in the present tense
  1. Identify the 2 – 3 core values that support the fulfillment of your vision
  1. Adopt behavior that will create your vision
  1. Be accountable
  1. Enlist the support of others to keep behavior aligned with values
Core values are the essence of a company’s identity. The benefits of aligning behavior and values include but are not limited to less stress, more productivity, minimal confusion and easier decision-making. Behavior is an outward expression of values. What does your behavior say about your values? That’s the real story. © 2013 Ann Elliott All Rights Reserved

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Ann Elliott

Ann Elliott, founder of The Berkana Company, excels at leadership strategy

An expert at helping business leaders enjoy more profits and improved productivity with less stress, she blends fun and excitement with executive coaching and training to yield results for her clients.

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