A certain multinational corporation may or may not have recently announced a new set of three corporate values to its employees. This may or may not be the first of those values (the others are simple and brilliant). Shh – don’t tell anyone!
Culture is a combination of all the things that make up our behaviour, i.e. ‘the way we do things around here’. Values go further in that they drive our judgement and behaviour – in other words: It ain’t what you do (it’s the way that you do it).
These are the components of the value ‘personal’ (the bold portion may or may not be the official company line and the rest is my interpretation of that):
- We come across as human beings. How do we do that? What does it mean to be human? Do we mean – as opposed to machines? What are the key differences between humans and machines? Machines are impersonal. Humans care about outcomes. Machines follow scripts that are programmed into them. Humans have spontaneity and free-will. Machines are rigid and unyielding. Humans are soft and flexible. Or do we mean – as opposed to ‘animals’? Animals are wild and untutored. Humans are cultured and learned. Animals are vicious creatures that kill and maim. Humans are … hmm – maybe we should move on.
- We show that we understand and care. By using the qualities we possess as human beings in our interaction with each other, we demonstrate that we have a grasp of what is important in our relationships and then we act on this understanding by doing things that alleviate suffering and generate positive energy and benefit in and for others.
- We respond to what our customers want. In part by showing our human qualities and in part by showing that we care and understand, we accurately assess and intuit what our customers want, and move towards satisfying these needs in a beneficial manner. A customer can be either part of our internal organisation or someone (a person or a company) that we sell good or services to.
Values are not something you say – they are something you do. Think how you individually can act upon values every day and how as a member of a wider community you can identify opportunities to bring them to life.
You know – having done this exercise, I’ve realised that it’s actually quite difficult to articulate these values without falling into company-speak. I hope I didn’t bore you too much here.