Values, Values, Values.
When you start talking about values, eyes glaze over and attention turns to smart phones and checking messages.
Values aren’t sexy. The “new” leadership buzzwords and fresh new concepts get the attention, headlines and blog posts. Fundamentals and foundation just aren’t real attention grabbers.
The problem with values isn’t the values themselves. The problem is that individuals and organizations don’t do what they say they are going to do and fail to commit to the idea of values and the importance to the organization. They are often hollow words – the result of a tedious exercise to determine what’s important to the individuals in the organization. And, they often don’t have any emotion – and real meaning – around them – to create the energy necessary to be embedded in the company culture … and the individual. In order for values to have staying power they must become a part of a culture’s DNA.
Working with leading athletes and organizations, I have found that structure is critical to long-term consistency. A defined vision, supported by key beliefs (values) is key to keep performers on track and not constantly distracted by the ongoing drama that emerges day to day. Critical beliefs, buried in a performer’s or organization’s DNA leads to a straighter path and more focus. With no structure and direction, there is constant pulling “all over the place” leading to a lack of performance. So, determining “what’s important” in the beginning sets the stage for performance in the future.
I see this everyday with athletes. They consistently want to glaze over fundamental pieces to being excellent in the long-term, in favor of a shinier new concept that may be more dynamic, but ultimately ends up not adding value … and being a waste of time.
Creating innovative approaches to bring “boring” values to an organization is key to implementation. What resonates with your organization or performer? What could be an engaging, fun way to bring critical structure/ideas to them? It’s not words on a page that will capture their heart, but maybe imagery/music/sense of humour that creates a connection … and ultimately the commitment.
Values are critical for all performers. They support the vision and frame the structure by which you perform day to day – working toward long-term, sustainable results. Take them seriously – but be original and authentic in the manner in which you embed them in the DNA of a performer or organization.