Use our organizational value statements as an example to craft your own. You only need a few simple words that simultaneously convey meaning and inspire others.
Now that you have discovered your organizational values, it is time to clearly define them as a value statement.
Whereas the exercise to discover your organizational values (the previous tool) was to narrow and condense lists, writing a value statement is to expand it back out – but only so far as it adds clarity. A few simple words as a short sentence can carry meaning and impact. A good value statement not only defines the value, but is also inspiring.
‘‘Value statements should be clear to all team members. . . and inspiring!’’
Here are a few examples from our own foundation:
‘Creativity’ is ‘Continuously improve what matters and be creative.’
The value 'Dreaming' can be written as ‘Unleash your imagination.’
‘Passion’ becomes ‘Pursue goals with passion.’
‘Awareness’ can be defined as ‘Trust in yourself, your purpose and your team.’
Compassion’ can be ‘Respect and love yourself, all living beings and nature.’
The value of 'Non-violent Communication’ translates to ‘Listen actively and give clear feedback.’
Be patient here. This process might take some time – days, weeks or even a month – to settle on the clear and concise meaning you want to convey. You may even re-visit them a year or two later, when you realize everyone in the organization is now prioritizing something that wasn’t on your list before.
When you’ve written clear and inspirational sentences for each corporate value, you have something you can really stand behind. Now the work begins on how to bring them to life!
Value statements are no good if they only exist on paper; they should come alive in the real world, to guide & inspire the whole team. Ask these 4 questions.
Now that you’ve written your value statements you’re ready to test them in the real world. This ‘stress test’ occurs on a daily basis within your organization.
There are 4 questions that all need to be answered affirmatively in order to pass the stress test. They are:
Do the statements correctly capture everything that’s important to us?
Do the statements inspire people to want to work for us?
Do the statements guide our people into behaving the way we want them to?
Are we able to live those values and portray them as role models?
‘‘After we articulate the value statements, we have to bring them to life.’’
If you cannot answer ‘yes’ to every single one of the above questions, then you need to update your value statements. The aim is to bring them to life – not just written on a piece of paper.
It is the responsibility of all team members to raise the above questions, answer them honestly and re-write as needed.