The development of a set of value statements that truly reflect the essence of your organisation can be invaluable. If you want to ensure they are drowned by derision then you could try imposing them from on high, publicising them and never again looking at them, and, ignoring them in strategy building, tactical implementation and daily operational activity.
Are a set of decaying value statements better or worse than no values statements at all?
We have a values statement
It makes us who we are
It talks of trust, empowerment,
Integrity, bla bla
It took six months of talking –
Consulting with the ‘troops’ –
To come up with the wording
We put ourselves through hoops!
We stand for fairness, dignity,
Autonomy, no blame,
Creative ways of working,
Risk, honesty, to name
A few of them – the statement
Is on the intranet
I’ll have to have another look
It’s easy to forget
The list – it’s long – but very good!
I’d even go as far as saying
The trouble is that nothing’s changed
There’s still a funny smell
Along the corridors of power
It’s hard for me to tell
Who I can trust around this place –
Where I can find the good
I thought the values made things right
I have misunderstood.
What you do is who you are
It isn’t what you say
You stand for, or believe in, it is
What you do, today.
We judge your action, not just words
Behaviours, not intent
The things we see give us the clues
About what’s really meant.
Wake up tomorrow, come to work
And do things differently
Don’t tell me what you stand for
Show me – let me see.
(Jenny Knight 2006)
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