It's All About Values
12th October 2015
Benita Treanor of the Oasis School of Human Relations explores the importance of understanding and communicating your company values and vision.
Values are the spirit of the time, whether focussed on sustaining what we have already developed, alongside creating the necessary practices that embody our work in order to sustain and thrive in a climate of fast paced change.
We are entering a new phase where we are learning what it might mean to create businesses that serve a wider whole which includes the well-being of people, the wider global economy and our planet. Businesses that want to thrive and survive will need to understand what their values are, be able to talk about them and align their future pictures and strategic direction with ability to face values conflicts in a way that can be normalized and serves achievable solutions as part of everyday organizational practice.
If we can make conscious and articulate what is important to us, understanding our core values and guiding principles that connect and underpin our working practices, we will be more equipped to find new freedoms and opportunities in how we prioritise and make the important decisions.
Early in 2015 the Google Campus, international communication agency, Global Tolerance, launched their latest research entitled 'A Values Revolution'. The research showed that giving voice to values is a vital and crucial part of business life, enabling all to understand what values are and how to articulate them, learning how to align and deliver in practice.
At the Oasis School, we have been working with values based approaches that place the person at the heart of change and development for over 25 years. Whilst there have always been people and organisations engaged with living their values, there seems to be a seed change in recognising what a difference the application of values can make for tomorrow's world, and perhaps more importantly how more people identify that a change is needed.
The challenges facing the workplace of tomorrow are not unfamiliar to Oasis. Over the last year our research team has interviewed a range of people from diverse work settings to understand the demands for tomorrow, and the requirements for the workplace if people and planet really matter. Being true to what you value, valuing a world beyond your own interests, and developing, what are termed authentic organisations are just part of what has been discovered, but it is clear that values are an important ingredient for employees, employers and customers whether global or local.
At a time when we live with increased uncertainty, under pressure we can find ourselves defaulting to ‘old patterns’ which can result in fear based behaviours. Criticism, blame unhelpful judgments, defensiveness, intolerances, retaliation can take us in unhelpful directions leading to poor decision making and subsequent unintended actions. The famous quote by Einstein “Problems can’t be solved at the same level of thinking that created them” suggests we find time to explore different ways of thinking other than our own individual stance.
Our core values are a reference point from where we make our decisions, demonstrate productive reasoning, develop strategies and subsequent interactions that we adopt and create our future pictures. Through understanding what is essential to us, we are able to find ways to recognise and voice our values when truly tough choices are being called for. As Kidder points out in ‘Good People make Tough choices’, “The really tough choices don’t centre on right versus wrong. They involve right versus right.”
Who you are, what your values are, what you stand for....They are your anchor, your north star. Take a moment and reflect on what your 3 most important values are in this current time. Can you communicate these with others?