Values Versus Beliefs

I've long believed that as individuals we are more inclined to live up to our personal values than perhaps a corporate body might, even though the corporate body; company, charity, club or whatever it might be, will often be better equipped to define what their values might actually be than an individual.

Companies and other organisations like to have mission statements, slogans and catchy strap lines to tell you how passionate or dedicated they might be to the product or service they offer, but how often do the people within those organisations really behave as though the espoused values are something that they share?

Less often perhaps than the HR and marketing departments might like I suspect!

So how does an organisation develop a culture that encourages their staff to hold and act on the same values as the marketeers have decided are the right ones for that organisation?

I believe that the first step should be to make sure that the values espoused really are values rather than beliefs or behaviours.

But how does a value differ from a belief?

Values are positive, and we hold them close to our hearts. We may never name them out loud, but they are at the core of who we are. Things like loyalty, honesty and humour might appear on our list, as might concepts like family and personal growth.

Beliefs on the other hand can be positive, but can also have negative aspects, or even destructive ones. They are how we talk to ourselves about our values, and while they may stem from those values, they may not contribute to our wellbeing by actually supporting the values.

For instance: take the value of kindness, which is always going to be positive, and then take the belief that 'if I'm kind, people will think I'm a soft touch and will take advantage'; which is a lot less positive, and may drive you away from the core value of being kind, thus creating a dilemma which can have a very negative impact on your overall wellbeing.

Going back to the corporate world, how does a company that proudly tells the world that they are 'passionate about widgets' ensure that this is a value rather than a marketing ploy? How do they gain buy-in from the people on the shop floor or in the factory, and ensure that they feel passionate about the product, when the management simply wants them to be productive and to show up on time?

The answer may lie in the creation of a coaching culture and a management style that encourages direct communication and feedback; a culture in which the passion the CEO feels is for the product and those who make it rather than the shareholder and the bottom line, and in which he or she goes to whatever lengths required to have his team feel a similar passion, and to communicate this openly.

The first step in the journey to a value based management style is to Identify the real values in your business, and to behave in such a way as to ensure those values are upheld.

We develop people, they develop your business. Unlimited Potential is focused on business results through executive coaching, leadership training and culture change programmes. If you would like more information about your values and believes, both personally or organizationally then contact us


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