A frightening number individuals and companies say they really don’t need a values statement because, after all, everything is covered by their mission statement. That’s a sure sign that either the mission statement or its application needs some serious work. Both are frequently the case…
Mission statements are intended to be a summary statement of why your organization exists and concisely let the world know what your purpose is. That is, after all, what a mission is.
A values statement, on the other hand, should equally concisely tell your employees, along with the rest of the world, the essentials of how your business runs. Among its most critical functions, a values statement needs to:
-> Make clear to employees the values that are to inform their job behavior all day, every day. In other words, when there isn’t a rule for something, or when there are multiple possible ways to make a decision, your values statement should effectively guide their choice regarding what to do.
-> Allow employees to unambiguously judge the appropriateness of every action in their working day by discerning whether or not those actions or are not aligned with your stated values. (This should simultaneously be a great tool for helping employees judge the ethics of their actions or intended actions.)
-> Accurately tell the public what values they can expect to see brought to life when dealing with your company.
The value of a well-written values statement is enormous. It not only creates an easily-applied guide and gauge for the appropriateness of any employee’s behavior at any time, but can equally easily be used as the foundation for building better management, leadership, and customer-service at all levels of your organization. After all, if each of these functions were to be constantly driven by your most important values, wouldn’t that necessarily assure both significant and positive changes? Obviously, however, none of this can happen without a values statement that is extremely well written.
Though I am spending a greater and greater percentage of my time helping folks write highly effective values statements, I am always looking for good examples of existing ones. Do you have one or know of one you could share with me? If so, please either post it here or send me a copy or link. Thanks!