Anchoring Values

Dr Brené Brown’s research found that having clearly named Values, and living into these Values with specifically named behaviours, is vital in developing brave leaders and courageous cultures.

She was shocked to find that less than 10% of the organisations she worked with had a clear set of Values that most people could name. And the desired behaviours underpinning these Values were even less clear.

Simon Sinek has a favourite definition of culture: Culture = Values + Behaviours

Values anchor us to what is most important to us.

A North Star, a set of guiding principles.

When faced with difficult decisions and choices, Values are a filter to bring clarity. On those nights when sleep eludes you and your intuition keeps telling you something is wrong, revisit your Values to get understanding about what’s really going on. 

Values anchor you when times get tough, when you need more grit and resilience. They’ll help you clearly know what to let go of, and what feels important to hold on to.

What to fight for. What to apologise for. What boundaries to set in your life.

It’s valuable to look at Values at both a Personal and Organisational level, and discover the alignment between the two.

In a team, knowing each other’s Personal Values builds trust, connection and collaboration. We all need trusted colleagues who know our Values, and can support us in the difficult challenge of living into them daily at work.

Your Values will guide both the way you give feedback to others, and the way you’re able to take on board feedback that is given to you.

I believe organisations benefit from revisiting and refreshing their Organisational Values every five years. Values change over time, as what’s important to an organisation shifts in response to changing environments.

As you go about naming your Organisational Values, keep a few things in mind to successfully ‘anchor’ them into your culture:

  • No more than four. Three is ideal (people can remember three things easily!)
  • Co-create as much as possible – get many people involved.
  • Capture stories, find out what’s important to people. Think about what big decisions will need to be made in the future.
  • Ask yourselves the following questions:
    • Meaning: What does this Value mean to you?
    • Relevance: Why is this Value important to your company?
    • Messaging: What will be required from others to keep this Value alive?
  • Be specific. The Values need to align with your organisational Purpose, Vision and Mission
  • Make them uniquely yours; words you can believe in, feel proud of, and that you’re willing to broadly message across the business and to your clients
  • Take the additional step of naming three specific behaviours that will bring each Value to life across the organisation.
  • Add the Values and Behaviours to your Onboarding Processes, Job Descriptions, Performance frameworks
  • Bring your newly named Values to life in new and exciting ways through Values Sprints, Rituals, Awards, Newsletters, Websites, Stationery, Gifts…


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