It's All About Values
Values underpin Beliefs, Beliefs underpin Behavior. This is as simple as it could get in trying to define the corporate values across the global landscape. You could actually start by considering what behavior patterns you expect of your workforce and thereby decide on your core value settings. It is also very important to consider that corporate values can be interpreted of its relevance in our personal lives as well. Broadly speaking, "Values" are inheritance and need time to form core DNA material within humans and hence if one's personal values are aligned in a way to corporate values, upholding or demonstrating the same in professional work doesn't require as much effort.
The corporate "behavior" is manifested in various forms and in response to various unique business situations but has a common base in our shared belief systems which in turn rivets strongly around our core values. As a leader, my values are no different than any other employee in the organization but the only difference could be internalization of the values. This process takes time though, and depends on experience and exposure to business situations and senior employees transition into this stage earlier than those compared to young minds from colleges and universities.
There are essentially three broad steps or stages through which the "Values Story" flows till it gets completely established as the guiding principles of any organization. The first step in the journey is to `Empathize' and relate to the core `Value' of the organization. In this stage employees can recollect and state the organization values from purely having heard them reiterated by senior employees or management teams over multiple occasions and forums. The second, which is very critical is to relate to the `Values' in your professional lives which is called `Internalization'. At this stage an employee can clearly skim and guide his/her actions based on values. They become the navigator in extremely difficult situations or situations that do not have a clear precedence. Finally, over a period of internalization comes the last stage,` Demonstration' which in a way overlaps with the internalization stage wherein actions or behaviors can be clearly seen as being guided by corporate values as opposed to overwhelming commercial business priorities.
Values Story" flows till it gets completely established as the guiding principles of any organization
Another key element in keeping values alive is to revisit and consciously create forums to discuss our values. While business situations change, it is very unlikely that corporate values undergo changes it is like the north star, fixed and bright across ages guiding sailors in different oceans and seas reach their destination. Such reiteration through employee forums helps concretize the `Belief' system of employees and thereupon catalyze the expected behavior. Through this channel, employees not only reflect upon the corporate values but also get an opportunity to challenge the values. This only augments recognition and appreciation of their breed. It requires time and extended deliberations on this subject to unfold the true meaning as well as realize myths around corporate values.
As DNAs give away the clue to much mysteries so do value settings of successful corporates. Leaders are expected to nurture the values and pass it on to new members for further cultivation and inheritance which then overtime compounds to what we in general refer to as "Corporate Identity".
In summary, values would continue to be the cornerstone of a sustainable corporate venture and hence is an important matter to be considered by not only leaders but in general the entire workforce which gives the human face to any organization. Future generations of business and workforce would continue to get guided by the corporate values and hence keeping the values alive is a firm mandate. We need to reinforce our "Values" at all levels across our workforce which in turn would have a direct bearing on employee behavior in the days and years to come.
In recent times you would have read news of mega corporations being clamped down with huge penalties and law suits owing to malpractices. This in turn clearly reflects weak corporate value set-tings or lack of investment in nurturing the corporate values. While on the other hand you would also come across corporations which have taken progressive steps in re-defining business charters creating a wave of positive social and business results behind the scene, the success ingredient was nothing else but you got it right!
While there could be different approaches to keeping values up-held at all times, what is common is the recognition that without up-holding core corporate values, we would be out of business sooner than later.