We often hear and talk about the values of an organisation and working with our employees to ensure they understand what the company values mean, however it made me think about my own personal values and what these are and how they drive my business decisions. 

We all know that ‘values’ are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work – they form the foundation of your life.  When you know your own values, you can use them to make informed decisions about how you want to live your life, they can influence your decisions around the job you have, your relationships and the activities you do.  I know personally growing up that my parents taught me certain values that have stayed with me throughout my life and have given me the strength and courage to make tough important decisions.  I know when I need to make a decision whether it be a personal or work decision I refer to my personal values and values of my organisation to allow me to make decisions I know will benefit me and my organisation in the future. Taking the time to step back from a situation and examine the circumstances as a third party would and thinking of both personal and organisational values— has proven to help people reach objective outcomes. 

Personal and corporate values act to prime people’s mindsets, which directly affect their behaviour.  For example, a health-oriented value that encourages exercise can reduce anxiety, negativity, and depression, while improving cognitive function and self-esteem.  So, think about your own personal values, whether it be honestly, perseverance, resilience, accountability, even humour and what this value means to you and where your life is right now.  Sometimes the values that we are taught as a child and remain with you through adulthood may have created a life that is not the direction you want to take.   This is when you need to ask the question – “In leading a life based on these values, am I moving toward or away from being the kind of person who I want to be?” and so it is with a company.  As with individuals, a company’s Core Values can be (and often are) accepted without question, or they can be carefully chosen by the company’s Leadership and its Management Team. The latter course leads to a healthier culture.  

Each company operates according to an often unstated but clearly understood value system.  They can be thought of as the moral compass of the organisation.  If an organisation is to meet the challenges of a changing world, it must be prepared to change everything about itself except those beliefs (values) as it moves through corporate life.