Are Your Company Values Fanciful Words or A Measurable Compass?

Building a company and brand today is very different from building one 50 years ago.

It used to be that a couple of executives got together in a board room, wrote some fanciful, aspirational words on a flip chart and Bobs your uncle, the company’s values and brand positioning was decided.

Today this strategy flies in the face of creating a sustainable, profitable, engaged company that will survive in the modern world.

Richard Branson of Virgin and Tony Hsieh of Zappos agree that one of the most important elements of the high performance, productive and aligned company culture is a set of core values that are measurable, tangible, and observable. And with the ‘pen’ in everyone’s hands so to speak with the wonder of the internet, companies are becoming more and more transparent whether they like it and are prepared for it or not.

If the values of your company were the brainchild of you, your leadership team or a couple of old fellas over a glass of red many years ago then perhaps it’s time for a revisit. How will you know if they need an overhaul? Basically if they are not measurable, that is you can’t touch, see, hear or feel the values in action then its well overdue. If you can’t describe what your values look like in action then how can you possibly hold your managers and staff accountable for them?

The best way to build a brand that’s sustainable and to create values that are a measurable compass for your actions is to focus on your company culture. As Tony Hsieh from Zappos says “Your company’s culture and your company’s brand are just two sides of the same coin.” Unless you get the inner culture working well – what show’s up in your outer brand will never reach it’s potential and market stickiness.

In most organizations, values are defined in lofty terms that are difficult to translate into practical, day-to-day application. What is needed is therefore is the active engagement of everyone in the company to determine what the values should look like…

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