WHY Do You Value What You Value?

culture employee experience examples of core values in the workplace exceeding expectations importance of organizational culture integrity leadership culture organizational culture and values the importance of organizational culture values Apr 13, 2022
Examples of Core Values in the Workplace

Once we’re confident that we have a solid list of the things we really value, we need to be very intentional about defining the reason each of those values matter to us - or anyone else for that matter! The values our organizations perform to will indeed become the organizational culture we’re known for so it’s critical that we take the reins in defining what those values are…

Jon Gordon, author of a great book a friend shared with me a while back called The Carpenter, explained it this way:

Culture is dynamic, not static. Every person on your team and organization creates your culture every day by what they think, say, and do. You elevate it by what you say. And you make it great by what you do.

If Gordon is right, and I believe he’s spot-on, we’d better be absolutely certain we know exactly WHY each value we want built into our organizational culture truly matters to us, our company as a whole, and to each individual we message the importance of that value to! I’ve rarely seen anyone invest an intense amount of energy into doing something just because the boss said so. And the ones who do won’t likely do it very very long unless they’ve landed on their own specific WHY… To that end, I’ve seen even less people go all in just because it’s printed as one of the values in the handbook or on the lobby wall…

WHY matters to all of us!

Last time I mentioned three values that I work to live out personally in everything I do; honesty, work ethic, and exceeding expectations. These certainly aren’t all the values that Cindy and I hold dear, but I think they’ll serve as a decent example so you can begin to consider whether or not you’re as clear on WHY your values matter to you…

Most of us are familiar with the saying, “we do business with the people we know, like, and trust.” While I believe that’s a truth, I don’t believe it’s the truth - at least not for all of us! As I’ve studied The Model of Human Behavior, I’ve come to understand that those of us who are more task-oriented have a fairly deep desire to be able to trust someone before we even consider whether or not we like them. I try to be open-minded when I first interact with someone but I also pay very close attention to make sure their words and deeds line up. If they prove to me that they’re not interested in aligning their words and deeds, I tend to be very cautious in any dealings I have with that person moving forward - if I have to deal with them at all… That being the case, I make it a point to do everything I possibly can to avoid even giving the perception of dishonesty. Quite frankly, that’s been the basis for decisions that have likely cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars in just the last decade. So be it! Money comes and goes, trust is far more difficult to earn!

Work ethic should be self-explanatory, but society today has shown that it’s absolutely not… As I shared before, I’ve never felt like I was overly talented in any given area. But I learned in my early teens that I could pass a lot of people by simply outworking them! And truth be told, I also believe a strong work ethic ties right back to honesty, and being willing to work hard to deliver sure does help us follow through on what we commit to.

Exceeding expectations, to me, falls right in line with work ethic. When we’re willing to outwork the competition, we’re off to a good start. Then it’s just a matter of keeping our ego in check. I don’t know when I first heard the expression, “under promise and over deliver,” but it’s been something that I’ve tried to do for as long as I can remember. I also remember John Maxwell estimating that 80% of the people we interact with fall short of what’s expected of them, about 15% perform only to what’s expected of them, but only 5% are willing to go beyond what’s expected of them. I don’t know that he ever cited any real studies to back that. If anything, he may have overestimated the percentage of folks who exceed expectations. For me, that’s just one way I can do better than someone who’s more talented and it’s something that’s completely within my control.

Hopefully that gives you a glimpse of WHY each of those values are important to me; WHY I’m willing to put so much time, energy, and focus into them. Just in case you need more though, consider how the impact we can each make on the people we serve when we’re willing to give everything we’ve got to living out values like that in everything we do! 

If that’s still not enough reason to get serious about defining the values you build your organizational culture on, consider how it ties back to your bottom line! And that’s exactly what we’ll look at next time…