Organisational value statements: One way street to Extinction or the New management style?

(Warning: Out of the ordinary post.. not about technology.. you have been warned.. just something that I thought of.)


I am privileged to be able to work with a lot of different organisations.  When visiting these, it’s common to find a poster of “The Company’s Mission and Values” either in reception or in a conference room. I religiously read these, in order to make my conversations / presentations relevant to the people in the room. However after doing this for years, yesterday I had an epiphany about these stated ‘Values’!

What I’ve noticed most organisations have similar value statements, Trust, Loyalty and Integrity; and all of them expect their employees to exhibit these values in their behaviour.  But here is my realisation, very few organisations exhibit these values back to their employees!

Let me illustrate with an example we can all relate to. Yesterday at a conference I saw someone I had not seen for many years. On enquiring how company X was going, he said he had been retrenched after 15 years! You guessed it, the organisations key value is ‘LOYALTY’. I do understand that some retrenchments are bloodless terminations, for managers who have weak stomachs! But in this case, this guy is one of the recognised experts in his field and is generally liked. The division he was part of was closed down, and everyone was let go! Demonstrated loyalty for 15 years to be indiscriminately let go… (Note: I use the word ‘guy’ as unisexual, as Magnum PI did in the 80’s)

Now if the stated values for an organisation are not demonstrated by the organisation itself, then the game is lost.  In todays ‘information economy’ it’s what happens in people’s heads that creates value. To maximise this value that ‘head’ needs to be in the right space!

My understanding was that the value set was to attract people who connected to these and would enjoy and thrive in such a working environment. Most importantly through their success the organisation would thrive! To me this is the only way to maximise the value, of what has become known as, “human capital”.

Today success or failure is determined by the people within an organisation. Everyone engaged, committed and rowing the same boat, in the same direction… has to be the goal of an organisation and practiced through its management….or maybe if they continue to stick to ‘industrial economy’ principals, they perish!


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