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Realising the true value of Values

Realising the true value, of Values

boardroom consulting is a specialist strategy consultancy; working in partnership with ambitious senior leadership teams and focusing exclusively on projects that accelerate and amplify the impact of organisations by ‘fixing the fundamentals of organisational identity’. We help businesses and organisations large and small to consider who they are, what their wider impact is and how their services and offer, as well as their culture and people, can better support this.

As a result, many of our projects focus on reviewing, refreshing and re-defining key aspects of organisational and brand strategy – from Vision & Mission frameworks that help align ambition and activity with outcomes and impact - to Brand strategy, architecture and identity projects, that connect and align ‘strategy to story’.

Over the last few years, we have also increasingly been engaged by senior leadership teams to help support the definition and development of organisational Values.

Whilst senior leadership teams usually recognise the importance of Values, reviewing and reimaging these can often be seen as sensitive and difficult projects to deliver well. With fears expressed around ensuring all staff can meaningfully contribute, without projects dragging on too long, or questions around how to ensure Values are defined and delivered as actionable behaviour statements, not just positive sentiments, that can support and underpin culture change.

Drawing on our wealth of experience helping organisations define and develop their Values - from high profile national charities, like Refuge to major, national Galleries, such as the National Portrait Gallery. Global sporting events, to high-growth businesses, like Genomics plc seeking to scale up quickly but retain critical aspects of their ethos and culture – here are our top tips on how to realise the true value, of Values.

Really, Great Values…

Great Values are fundamental foundation stones; critical to so many aspects of an organisation’s broader role and impact, as well as to its culture and people. But in our experience not all values and values projects are the same.

So what sets really great Values apart from the rest?

Great values drive action and activity, not just culture and behaviours. They underpin high-performing cultures and galvanise organisational decision making and accelerate the broader impact of organisations by ensuring the internal culture, behaviours and everyday actions of all staff are connected to overall strategy and wider impact. Providing a common framework to support faster, more effective institutional decision making that supports the overall delivery of the organisation’s mission and broader strategic aims.

Great Values, help to create a shared and common sense of purpose, encouraging and supporting a stronger sense of belonging in all staff, volunteers, funders and supporters. Connecting culture to a shared and motivating common purpose, so that all staff, regardless of where they work and what they do, feel part of the broader mission and understand their role in supporting this. This is epitomised by the oft-cited story of the janitor at NASA who felt a pride in the fact he was ‘helping put a man on the moon’.

Great Values are also uniquely ‘of and for’ the organisation – they genuinely reflect the unique culture and personality of the organisation and are truly representative and meaningful to all. Values, in short, that everyone – from frontline staff to Board members – can see themselves represented in, be guided by and feel a sense of connection to.

Great values are actionable and measurable; embedded within and influencing how everyone across the organisation behaves, engages and acts, everyday. This requires an approach which not only sets out to define and develop Values that are by their very nature inherently ‘action-oriented’, but also a process of development that explores ways in which the organisation can help make the values meaningful to all. Ensuring organisations don’t just ‘have values’, but are genuinely ‘values-driven’.

And finally, great values are just that – really great! By this we mean they feel inspiring and aspirational – both in sentiment and action, but also in language and tone. Inspiring values aren’t insipid – they are colourful, authentic to the people and personality of the organisation – and are brought to life in ways that inspire, as well as inform all.

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