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Meaning to Values (1) For any set of values to have an impact, they need to be clearly defined and aligned to the overall process of achieving the organisation’s vision. There should be minimal room for individual interpretation of values because that could lead to misinterpretation or conflicting interpretations, which in the final analysis defeats the purpose of having guidelines.
Meaning to Values ( 2) The most effective way to define your organisation’s values is to • write out a sentence or two, supporting each value, • followed by specific examples of how each value can be practiced or facilitated in everyday work situations. The specific examples can be written in terms of suggested “do’s” and “don’ts”. Following is an example:
Supporting Statement Say one of the important values for your organisation is CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT, here is how you can give it meaning: Supporting Statement: In our organisation we set high expectations for ourselves and identify ways to go the “extra-mile” for our stakeholders. We evaluate our work processes daily to areas that need improvement.
On the Job Supporting Behaviours • We look for opportunities for improvement, however small • We recognise that everything can be improved upon • Our internal improvements eventually lead to improvements for our stakeholders • Continuous improvements for us means that there will always be moving targets (continuous learning) • We invest in Continuous Professional Development (CDP) of our staff etc
Last but not least: promote VALUES: The most important part of defining your values is promotion: Your values are useless if they are not seen and practised. What the organisation’s leaders do to promote and instil the values will determine whether people really take them to heart or just pay lip service to them.
Considerations to promote values: • Make them part of your organisation’s structure, communication system, financial system, monitoring systems, learning system, administrative system, employee evaluations etc • Displaying them visually • Recognising and Rewarding behaviour that exemplify the values • Recognising and taking corrective action for wrong behaviours • Ensuring management promote the values • The power of role modelling “walk your talk”