Friday, September 30, 2011

Values Based Business

Does it help build sustainable business or is it another bit of fluff? I believe it contributes to building sustainability.

One story often heard when people are discussing their challenges at work is that the managers they report to or work with are not consistent in the way they make decisions and in the way they require employees to approach their work.

These three situations are drawn from experience in three different organizations. (These scenarios are also included in a previous post about Learning from Leadership

(1) A senior level manager makes a decision that affects the way many people conduct their day to day tasks but refuses to discuss the change before implementing it; aside from alienating those involved there was a financial cost to making needed adjustments that would have been accounted for had he taken the time to consult with those affected first. This behaviour was typical of this manager and created similar issues over a number of years.

(2) A mid-level manager repeatedly makes “jokes” about various people in the organization and when advised that these “jokes” were inappropriate and disrespectful, responded that it wasn’t his fault people didn’t have a sense of humour.

(3) Two members of a management team accuse an employee of theft in a management meeting; when questioned by the other team members as to precisely what happened and what proof was evident the accusation fell apart; it became clear after a very long discussion that the two managers had contrived it out of thin air. They had started out demanding that the employee be fired but ended up admitting that there was no evidence any theft had occurred.

In each of the organizations two of the core values included “respect for people” and “integrity” yet members of the management team in each organization exhibited behaviour contrary to those values. There were trust issues between management and employees resulting in productivity, employee retention and quality issues.

Organizations that talk about the core values to candidates and again to new employees in the orientation process, include them on their website and in their annual reports but have managers behaving outside those core values will have a problem with trust and respect in their organization.

Values based business helps to develop and maintain an agile culture that is resilient. Change comes from many sources but no matter what or where change comes from having established core values aids effective decision-making. When all the managers in the organization make decisions based on established core values it helps to reinforce employees trust.

Do you make management and business decisions based on established core values for your organization? Have you ever made a decision that did not meet the core values and regret it? What happened? Have you worked for an organization where you experienced this type of discrepancy? What was it like to work there?

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