Why are values important for organizations and its employees? As a senior manager, do you feel this is an important area of focus of your main effort within your organization? (Give specific details).
Ah, values, the stories I could tell. Well, I will tell one just to set the stage. It was a Tuesday morning about three years ago, and I and about thirty others are attending a leadership meeting, complete with outside facilitators, I believe the SFO airport Marriott was the designated meeting location. The meeting consisted of leadership from sales, engineering, marketing, finance, human resource and other few other back-office divisions, the E-team (our executive leadership) and outside meeting facilitators. One of the key agenda items was to review a mission statement and core values which leaders across the company had been working on for close to a year. I don’t remember how the exactly how the discussion progressed, but I will do my best. One of the core values was “integrity”, along with others like customer-centric, accountability, teamwork and adaptability.
One group which contained two representatives from sales was charged with brainstorming the word “integrity” and how it applied. When it came time for them to read out their notes, flip chart or whatever the response was something like “we don’t really like the word integrity”, of course, the question of “why” quickly followed from a facilitator. The response was something like “as salespeople we need to bend the rules, and we just feel that integrity maybe should not be a core value”. Queue an explosion from executive management. It was actually quite comical, spurred some insightful debate and probably impacted some corporate culture changes.
The text states that values represent basic convictions, a mode of conduct that is personally or socially preferable and implies that the nature of values is judgmental. (Robbins & Judge, 2018 p. 75) Values are the bedrock of an organization’s culture, we hear the term “cultural fit” so often, without a deep understanding of an organizations culture, the measure of a cultural fit boils down to, do values align. Does en employees value system align with the organization’s value system, does one company’s value system align with another. I was recently in a meeting with a prospect where an executive team member from the customer asked the following “Before we get started, what are your core values because I like to know who I am about to do business with.”
As a member of the senior leadership team, I do feel this is a key area of focus within my organization. Over the past two years, the values and mission of the corporation have been taken very seriously, top performers who do not embody the organization’s values have are being confronted. Reed Hastings calls these people “Brilliant Jerks” and says “Some companies tolerate them, for us, the cost too effective teamwork is too high. Diverse styles are fine as long as the person embodies Netflix’s values.” (Hastings, 2009, p. 36) We have adopted this philosophy as well, not easy, but required.
Sousa & Porto support the importance of values, stating that “values represent a core aspect of culture that influences behavior”. (Sousa & Porto, 2015 p. 2) Sousa & Porto further explain that PO (Person-Organization Fit) matters when it comes to job satisfaction by stating “Based on the evidence so far, it can be stated that there is a positive relationship between PO fit and positive consequences for the individual, such as satisfaction.” (Sousa & Porto, 2015 p. 2) Sousa & Porto provide empirical evidence which shows that alignment of OV (Organizational Values) and WV (Work ‘individual’ Values) has a direct correlation to employee happiness, stating that “agreement between higher levels of WV and OV prove to be associated with higher levels of happiness at work”. (Sousa & Porto, 2015 p. 7)
The text makes suggestions regarding implications for managers, tools and approaches which can be used to assess values, personality characteristics and fit, and offers guidance regarding diversity, social and emotional intelligence. (Robbins & Judge, 2018 p. 81) My organization makes use of tools like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and Predictive Index (PI) to understand the personalities, of our leaders, peers, and subordinates, we ensure that our actions align with our core values, we always embrace diversity and leverage information to foster the development of social and emotional intelligence.
Hastings, R. (2009, August 01). Culture. Retrieved March 18, 2018, from https://www.slideshare.net/reed2001/culture-1798664
Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. (2018). Essentials of organizational behavior. New York, NY: Pearson.
Sousa, J. M. d., & Porto, J. B. (2015). Happiness at work: Organizational values and person-organization fit impact. Paideía, 25(61), 211-220. http://dx.doi.org.portal.lib.fit.edu/10.1590/1982-43272561201509 Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.portal.lib.fit.edu/docview/1699251057?accountid=27313