With Whose Values Does One Start?

If you have heard me speak in the last year or so, you probably heard me say that a values statement – as long as it is written in the correct way – may be the best single thing a company can do to simultaneously build business and promote a strong culture of ethics.

I regularly hear from audience members, though, that they have no authority to create a values statement for their company. However, if you cannot write a values statement for your entire organization, you can certainly write one that is just as powerful for your work group, department, division, or solely for yourself. Fortunately, the process is no different writing one for yourself as for a group.

I know that many folks balk at writing a values statement for themselves because they are so certain that their values are absolutely clear and their ethics are impeccable. Might there still be a reason to write out a values statement, though? YES! There are many, actually, but among the more important are:

-> Like with almost everything else, there is a difference between having something in mind and writing it down. Writing, in itself, often serves to both refine and clarify our thoughts as well as acting like something of a contract. We are simply more prone to follow through on things we have written down.

-> A values statement written in the proper way will help you build your business through the sharper focus it will provide. And can’t all of us always use a boost in business?

-> Perhaps the value of a written values statement won’t be lost on others around you and that may give you a shot at convincing your department, division, or entire organization of the benefit of writing one for the whole group. Your increased success may help inspire them to follow the same path as well.

Remember, though, a poorly written values statement or a well-written one that is left unapplied will do you little good and may even cause harm. Take the time and, if needed, use proper consultation to be sure that you get this right. There is too much at stake to do otherwise.

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