What are the values of your organization?  Know ’em?  Are they yours?  Or are they just on some Successories kind of poster as you walk down the hall?

I like ours:

  • Courageously engaging the culture
  • Practicing honest conversation
  • Doing all things with excellence
  • Choosing joy consistently
  • Building God-honoring relationships
  • Giving back tangibly

I do like them.  They’re hard to practice sometimes.  But they’re good.  And they’re not just on the wall.  They mean something.

What about yours?

I pulled back out a really good Harvard Business Review article this weekend: Make Your Values Mean Something by Patrick Lencioni (author of Silos, Politics and Turf Wars and The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive).  This is a great article.  Lencioni makes an immediate case for a review of your organization’s values by first listing a great set: Communication, Respect, Integrity, and Excellence.  And then pointing out that they’re Enron’s.

If you’re like me you’ve been around places that have the values statements on the walls but they’re not living it out.  It’s a fake-out.  Know what I’m saying?  The question is, "why is that?"  I love Lencioni’s statement on developing strong values; values that you actually believe and live out.  Check it out:

"Coming up with strong values — and sticking to them — requires real guts.  Indeed, an organization considering a values initiative must first come to terms with the fact that, when properly practiced, values inflict pain.  They make some employees feel like outcasts.  The limit an organization’s strategic and operational freedom and constrain the behavior of its people.  The leave executives open to heavy criticism for even minor violations.  And they demand constant vigilance."

That is a great statement.  "When properly practiced values inflict pain."  Has the implementation of your values inflicted any pain lately?  Or are they only to look at?

Values That Mean Something