The answer is pretty straightforward. If an organisation has clear core values, its staff know who and what they are part of. Employees will be driven to join and work for a business which has a fit with their own personal core values. These people will work harder because they strongly believe in what they are doing and who they are doing it for. Having high-performing staff breeds company success.
I value creativity and there was a time in my working life when this was not being met. As co-director of a successful CAD/BIM consultancy and a new mother, doing any art was the last thing I had time for. That was eight years ago and not getting that creative time became a major reason behind the decision to change my career. I needed to feel and be creative in my work environment and although I was working alongside highly creative architects and engineers, I found no artistic expression in configuring MicroStation or writing BIM strategies.
Your values are what you judge to be important in your life and they exist to guide your thoughts, behaviours and actions. From honesty to creativity, to sustainabilityand community, values are the guiding lights that keep us on the right track. We express our values through our personal behaviours and organisations express their values through their cultural behaviours.
One of the ‘Nine Characteristics of a Practice Role Model’, says RIBA, is a strong practice leadership where the company:
“Communicates clear and consistent messaging from the leadership about organisational values and culture.”
Research* shows that values-driven organisations are the most successful ones. There is a strong link between financial performance and the alignment of an organisation’s cultural values with employees’ personal values. In other words, the culture of a business - the attitudes, the behaviours and the values - are equally as important as the services they provide.
When there is alignment between our personal values and those of the organisation we work for, there are higher levels of engagement and performance. We feel like we have the ‘right fit’. We want to belong, connect and seek a relationship with our company.
Connecting at a values-level means we are more able to bring our whole selves to work and better care about the well-being of our colleagues. Plus, companies are more able to attract and retain talented individuals. This all positively impacts the financial performance of the organisation and its ability to deliver high-quality services. Companies that consciously focus on their values are said to be more resilient, more sustainable and more successful!
No surprise then that values are an integral part of the coaching I do with architects and designers. My clients may be individuals finding their next position, leaders engaging their teams or directors building a new culture. I see my clients benefit from better decision-making and an increased ability to manage competing priorities. Values play an important part in driving you personally and professionally and, just as importantly, impact positively on an organisation’s culture and all who come into contact with it.
If you found this article interesting then take a look at my workshops on Values and Resilience HERE, or contact me to have a chat.
* Richard Barrett, Building a Values-Driven Organization: A Whole-System Approach to Cultural Transformation, Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2006.