Setting Business Goals: Can values statements be real business drivers?
Values as Business Drivers
The short answer to the question – ‘Can values statements be real business drivers?’ must be, of course, ‘It depends’.
Firstly, it depends on the values statements themselves. Were they established as part of the process of setting business goals for the organisation? Are they aligned with those business goals?
Are they different to the competition? Are they relevant to the business? Can clients and employees understand what they mean and how they relate to their day to day roles?
Setting Values – same as setting Business Goals?
Secondly, it depends if anyone does anything differently as a result of having them. Listing them down is one thing. Having them willingly and widely adopted as daily behaviours is another.
Setting values is much like setting business goals in this respect… it requires everyone to understand them and then it requires the process of asking everyone to find what motivation they have to deliver them. All too often, leaders don’t get that buy-in because there is simply no clarity to the frontline people who have to deliver them – and no understanding of ‘what floats my boat’ for the individuals involved.
Finally, it depends on the ‘exception test’. Think of when someone senior in your business behaved in a way that cut across one of your stated values. What happened? Did values matter? Or were they brushed aside because the deal size was too big or he or she was ‘too important’?
If you make exceptions to behaving in line with the values, don’t be surprised when your team brushes them aside in favour of what’s really important to the business.
Staff Motivation: Motivating a team
One question we like to ask of our clients at Will It Make The Boat Go Faster? is “Do you understand why your workforce comes to work every day and what motivates them? How is staff motivation really implemented?”
Our belief is that it is the leader’s responsibility is to ensure that improving team performance is the driving factor. With the challenges faced by the pressure of modern day businesses we often see the short term driving action and activity, increasing stress and having a hugely negative impact on effective decision making.
It’s at this point that the values of the business are often put to one side, or at least it can appear that way to a pressured work force. If the values of the business can be aligned with those of the workforce and members of the team can understand what’s in it for them, motivating a team becomes an easier task.
Values statements as business drivers
Values statements can be business drivers. But it’s really a leadership issue to make sure that there’s focus on the values, and measures on the resulting outputs. If that link isn’t there, they’ll never drive business.
What’s your experience of this? How do you use values in your business to encourage real progress towards your goals within your teams?