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Why Your Team Need to Be Part of Creating Your Company Values

two women around a table representing values being spoken about

Why Your Team Need to Be Part of Creating Your Company Values

Do as I say, not as I do – that’s the old business attitude isn’t it? 

Nobody knows as much about the business, the products or services as me – the leader of the business. This also sounds very much like a world-leader we all know too well. 

The trouble here is the naivety of such dominance only causes businesses to suffer poor productivity, lack of engagement, and loss of competitive edge. Act like you know it all, and your short-comings will only trip you up later on down the road. Oh how the mighty fall. 

In a world where a competitor can move into the market in a matter of days, with very little funding; it’s no wonder that people are now the foundation of a business. It’s not financial capital you need to succeed, but human capital. If you don’t have the people you don’t have the company. 

team meeting about company values

You need passion, purpose, grit and determination. Anything less, and your business is average at best. 

Unfortunately, we see the same cycle of failure in culture happen time and time again because this ‘know-it-all’ attitude and ego rears its ugly head. 

Business leaders enforce a mission and values that are neither relevant to their people, let alone their customers or the world within which it sits. 

So just why should your team be part of founding your company culture values? 

Because they set the expectation…

We all have values. Family values, social values and cultural values. Most of these aren’t written down, in fact, many of the values we all live our lives by are passed on from the actions and behaviours of those around us. 

Our children pick up on our family values and the expectations set because it’s nurtured in them from day one. Whether you’re a sit at the table kind of family, or a take off your shoes at the door kind of tribe. We all have these unspoken values which build our understanding of what is expected of us. 

In a company culture, values often originate from the founding of the organisation. From the actions and behaviours of the founders and first employees. They set the expectation, often, without even realising they are doing it. 

This doesn’t mean that company culture values cannot be changed at a later date, but it goes to show that what we buy into, what we believe, we follow. 

Values set our actions and behaviours. It’s the inside navigation system that tells us when we’re going something right or wrong. When we know the values of a culture, be that a company culture or even a nations culture, we can make a choice on how to act and behave in accordance with those values. 

In a company culture, this is exactly why expectations are paramount to helping enhance communication, collaboration and decision making. 

When a team member has a decision to make, they can look to the company’s values for guidance on the road best to travel. 

When communicating with clients, shareholders and suppliers, the team knows how they should behave in a way that fosters the company’s reputation, and enables them to get the best result. 

Without values, people can wonder if the decisions they make are appropriate. Rather than having autonomy and confidence in their role, they can constantly second guess themselves, and rely too heavily on their leaders. 

If people know the expectations they can move forward in their tasks and projects without the fear that they’re doing something wrong, or putting themselves at risk. 

Without values, team conflict can increase as people are making up their own minds on how to act and behave. If this isn’t all aligned as a team, one person’s approach may come across ‘wrong’ compared to others. 

As humans we need to know what’s expected of us. 

We know what’s required of us when we play the roles in our family, and friendships, so we also need to nurture the expectations of our working relationships. 

Because they need to feel connected to them ...

It never ceases to amaze us that many values created for company cultures, also resonate with teams on a personal level. Ie. the values that the company believes in, are also values that the individual would say are intrinsic to their own beliefs and values. 

When we ‘feel’ something on a personal level that ignites our own values, we are far more likely to act upon those values than when we are trying to live values that are not authentic to our own beliefs. 

The connection between personal and organisational values is something that has been widely studied. A global study, found that personal commitment to an employer’s core values is one of the top drivers of people engagement. 

Values are not just words written on a wall. We must remember that they make us feel something, and encourage us to take action. 

Without having your team onboard to create your company values you cannot ignite their passion for them. You cannot make them feel excited about them, and understand why they are important. 

By getting your team to be part of the values process you are helping them connect with the company’s values on a much deeper level. Enhancing their buy-in of these values, and ultimately enabling them to live and breath them without a second thought. 

As we’ve hammered home. You can’t get excited by something that you don’t feel personally committed to. It feels false, and doesn’t come naturally. Therefore, like the values on the wall, they become disregarded. 

graphic of ebook on how to build company culture

Because their experience matters…

You have a team for a reason. Because you cannot do everything on your own in your business. You need your team in order to serve your customers, sell your products, build your products; no matter the job, you need someone for it. 

Your team lives and breathes your business in a different way than what you do. They experience it from their own perspective, and from the interactions they have with suppliers or customers.  

Unless you can clone yourself, you cannot see and be part of every one of these roles and situations, which is why when it comes to your values you need everyone in your team to be able to share their experiences. 

Only by having diversity of thought and experience, can you create values that truly represent your company. 

It’s easy to try and lead values from the top. But let’s be honest – you’ve got a hidden agenda. 

If I say these are the values, then everyone needs to follow them.” Sounds more like rules than values to us. 

Your values need people power to be executed, after all,  your values are the actions and behaviours that help your business achieve its mission. That’s what the values are for, and your team probably has a very good idea of how and what to do in order for you to achieve that, but you need to give them the opportunity.

Key Actions

  • When building your values bring your team together – get everyone involved from the CEO to those on work experience. 
  • Understand more about your teams personal values and how they might relate to the organisation’s mission. 
  • Be authentic about your values – do they truly ignite passion in your team. 

For further help or support in establishing your company culture, contact us about our company culture training workshops, or our culture consultancy.

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About The Author

Lizzie Benton is a people and culture specialist who supports organisations in developing a unique company culture and building engaged teams. Lizzie has been recognised as a millennial changing the world of work, and has been featured in the Metro, HuffingtonPost and has spoken across the UK on employee engagement. When not consulting or running a workshop, Lizzie can be found in rural Lincolnshire enjoying afternoon tea and fresh air.