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#15: The Relevance of Organizational Values

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, March 27, 2009
Many companies follow the rational strategy development model that includes Vision, Values, Mission, Objectives, and Strategy. I understand, operationally, how all of these other than values fits in taking a company forward. What good is spending time figuring out organizational values if nobody pays any attention to them?

This statement begs the question of whether it is the poor articulation of values or their lack of use that is the issue. I would agree that too many companies place too little emphasis on defining their values. Even when they do, the values they do articulate are often aspirational and not the values currently espoused or acted on by the management and employees. When they don't, it is frequently because management fails to see how values could be "used" in executing the strategy they have developed.

What we can miss is that values are more foundational in an organization's day-to-day operations than strategies or tactics. If tactics are what you do, then values are who you are. In crafting the long view of strategy, a consensus on values underlies your decision making and problem solving processes. When a problem arises that challenges you in ways not foreseen by strategy, then values are what you must have to reconcile the conflicts in those decisions. For example, how should a company resolve a conflict between an employee and a customer if you haven't had a full conversation about how you honoring employees compared to how you serve customers.

Tip: If your client has not had a serious conversation recently about values, you could provide value by facilitating that discussion. Whether your specialization is in leadership, human resources, process management, marketing or any other area, a conversation about values as a way to increase the consistency and fairness of decision making is a natural consulting service.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  consultant role  planning  values 

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