Team Values Applied Well Will Improve Performance

The shape of any organization is dictated by the values held, and acted upon, by the leadership team.

It is through watching their leaders in action, that people get their greatest clues about the behaviors that are critical to the organization's (and their personal) success ... not those ever-present (and often a waste of space) cards, brochures and wall hangings that organization's seem to rely upon, to show the world their Vision/Mission and Values -- and which they often largely ignore as they make decisions.

If they see you doing things such as:

  • Fudging your expenses, or
  • Rewarding a, (for example), Purchasing Officer with a huge bonus for improving the bottom line ... by taking unfair advantage of a small supplier, or
  • Allowing people, who do not live the espoused values get away with poor behavior

then the people in your business get the message loud and clear about what is acceptable... and required to get ahead around here.

Values influence performance and behavior

Team Values Shape Your Organizational Culture

Shining Examples of Companies Who Live Their Team Values

Johnson & Johnson

The first line of Johnson and Johnson's credo states "We believe our first responsibility is to the doctors, nurses and patients, to mothers and fathers and all others who use our products and services". It was the choice to uphold this value - of putting the needs and well-being of the people they serve first - that saw Johnson and Johnson come through the two Tylenol scares in the 1980's without their reputation in tatters.


Another, highly successful, values-based company well worth studying is Zappos. Zappos lives and breathes its values. I HIGHLY recommend you read Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, book "Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose". This book is inspired and inspiring. In it Tony shares how their Values and Culture has driven one of the greatest success stories of this century.

The Zappos values drive every single element of their business - from the way they recruit people, to their performance evaluations, to how they interact with their customers. Zappos' values are:

  • Deliver WOW through Service
  • Embrace and Drive Change
  • Create Fun and a Little Weirdness
  • Be Adventurous, Creative and Open-Minded
  • Pursue Growth and Learning
  • Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication
  • Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
  • Do More with Less
  • Be Passionate and Determined
  • Be Humble

Team values are the bedrock upon which a high performance culture is driven.

Make no mistake - developing team values is not a waste of space - the best organizations ... without fail ... have strong cultures intimately revolving around their values.

And, if you look at the trail of failed and poor performing organizations you will see again, and again, that their common feature is that their cultures are weak and don't keep to a strong values system: Enron, Arthur Andersen, Worldcomm, Martha Stewart are just a few examples.

Of course, an individual's values should be closely aligned, to the organization's values. People who spend time getting clear about their personal mission in life are generally more energized and happier!

Simply because they are very clear about the type of organization they wish to align themselves with.

These people are often high performers and they simply won't work with you if they don't feel your organization's values ... and that means the ones you actually act upon - not the ones that are hanging on your walls - aren't a close match to their own.

Ready for the steps to developing team values? Let's go to the next article in this series

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