In times of uncertainty, it is important to look at the fundamentals, at that which is inside any organisation but also inside ourselves and can provide us with points of reference despite the lack of visibility. But where do we start?
One of the places where we can start looking is the area of values. And even if they are not visible or concrete at first glance. Values are the hidden treasures that allow both organisations and individuals to take back the reins and move forward. The paradox is that there is almost something positive about times of crisis, namely that they urge us to introspection, to self-awareness and to ask ourselves the right questions about our value system, which is part of our identity as individuals and part of the purpose of any organisation. By reviving them, by calling them to our consciousness, by identifying very clearly and concretely what they mean to us, we will be able to decide and act consistently and overcome the difficulties at hand while at the same time making us stronger for the future.
A time of profound change will force many of us to reconsider our priorities, our values, our ways of living or making business.
The function of the values is the same as the one of a compass: they show the direction
Values provide us with a frame of reference from which we can act meaningfully and consistently. The term “value” comes from the Latin “valor”, derived from “valere” which means “to be strong, powerful, vigorous”.
At an organisational level, values constitute the culture of a company, a set of collectively shared beliefs that describe the key behaviours essential to the company’s mission, vision and strategy. The values guide our actions and determine the critical competencies needed for success.
Effective communication and leadership by example keep the values alive
Remind your employees of the company’s values and in particular, of what they effectively mean and what specific and concrete behaviours can support them.
Make your employee aware of the positive long-term impact of behaviours that align with company values and the risks of not adopting them. And lead by example, as this is also a form of non-verbal communication.
Recognise and reward behaviours that match the values
Encourage, recognise and reward the behaviours that align with the values and that therefore allow to overcome the crisis and to improve performance. This will increase self-confidence, motivation, accountability and proactivity amongst team members. And positive feedback matters.
Provide support to people who are in difficulties
Sometimes, it is not a matter of not wanting but rather of not being able. So a person may not behave in accordance with expectations because she simply does not know how to do so.
As a leader, it is important to identify problematic behaviours and then help your employee to correct them, perhaps by developing some missing competencies. And constructive feedback matters.
Shared values enable cooperation and growth
Internally, a shared understanding of the values allows teams to work towards common objectives that strengthen the feeling of belonging and cohesion.
Externally, values help companies to present themselves in a particular and unique way, but for this to be successful, they need to truly reflect the essence of an organisation.
Align your people processes to your values
So, when you hire someone, think of the values and connect them to the corresponding competencies. In this way, you will attract people who are in line with your company culture. When you assess or develop someone, remember that competencies/skills are driven by values. And when you review the performance of your talents, connect the values to the behaviours you defined as key to success and to the corresponding competencies.