I once worked for a small start up company many years ago here in Beaverton. There were snacks set out with a box to slip dollars or coins into through a slot. After a few weeks the slot was pushed open just a little at a time and it became clear some money was also slipping out of the box. Someone in the organization was taking the money. The affect it had on the company was horrible. Everyone suspected everyone else. The culture was bruised by this incident. Distrust crept into meetings, negotiations, initiatives, travel plans, sales calls, you name it. Over time it did blow over and the person either came clean or at least stopped. It took awhile for the culture to recover. There was no directed, explicit, open, honest effort to instill integrity throughout the company, so the distrust lingered.

You can’t say enough about integrity, honesty, teamwork, communication, collaboration, and other values. Identifying and aligning to these values day-in and day-out, reminding ourselves and others of our values all the time forms a strong foundation for leadership.

I have my values written out. I work with people so they can clarify their values and speak to their values often. In fact, so often that their staff can rattle them off and even make jokes about how often they’re stated. It might not stop all infractions, we are human after all, but the expectation is laid down clearly and repeated so often that there can be no mistake about what is of value to the group and what is expected.

  • What values have you written?
  • Do you walk the talk–live and act by your company and personal values?
  • Are your personal values aligned with company values?
  • Do you set the expectations to follow them?
  • Are they aligned with your goals, activities, expectations?

A quick test is to listen to the jokes and comments said about the company and its management, its people.

Are the jokes flattering or not. You may have a problem brewing if the jokes or comments are not flattering. Jokes are a way to expose the truth of situations.

What programs do you have in place to embed your values into the organization so everyone is walking the talk?

Values form a pillar of leadership and gpostth!