“Values can be defined as broad preferences concerning appropriate courses of action or outcomes. As such, values reflect a person’s sense of right and wrong or what “ought” to be.” – Wikipedia
Enterprises seek “appropriate” courses of action and outcomes, so they establish and communicate a set of corporate values. But, too many businesses find that employees aren’t sufficiently influenced by these values. In other words, they don’t fully embrace the ideals, they often act in “wrong” ways, and they don’t work together to create what “ought” to be.
We’re not saying values, per se, are wrong. We’re simply making the case that the intent and meaning of a company’s values can be made more relevant and actionable when leadership thinks differently about the way they engage employees.
We help our clients identify a unique Emotional Impact – a set of four positive feelings – that are selected based on their ability to make the company truly matter when experienced by people within and outside the company.
People will only feel this way, and the company will only matter, if everyone in the company shares the same intent, attitude, and behavior, all of which need to embody and reflect the company’s values.
Our belief is that employees will be more involved, creative, and purposeful when they see their task as helping others experience specific feelings. They can easily see how these feelings are rooted in what they believe, how they behave, and the meaningful outcome they and the company seek.
It is challenging to understand the power of this approach in the abstract. However, in working with our clients, we have found it to be a useful way to see how processes, practices, policies, and personal interactions within organizations can be evolved to better evoke specific feelings.
From overarching policy decisions to individual conversations, feelings are a great way to bring corporate values alive and to make your business matter more to people.
Cartoon by Hugh McCleod