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An organisation’s Purpose and Values describe the core or ‘soul’ of the organisation. They are the organisation’s principal foundations, providing clarity, direction and a common language about what is important. They play a critical role in creating a competitive advantage, for building a positive organisational culture, and for leadership effectiveness.
It is important to note at the outset that Values without well-articulated supporting Behaviours are of little value.
Purpose and Values are not just professed, but are able to be practised and demonstrated as a normal part of daily work life, and embedded across the employee experience cycle, including recruitment, induction, talent management, performance management (including on-the-spot management of poor performance), reward and recognition, and learning and development.
We recommend defining your organisation’s Purpose first, followed by articulating the critical Values and supporting Behaviours, to ensure alignment, consistent messaging, and focus.
An organisation’s Purpose is a succinct statement that describes why it exists; what it does and what it wants to achieve. It becomes the organisation’s ultimate filter by which to test all key decisions; essentially a beacon that directs everything that the organisation does.
Values are a declaration of what is important to the organisation; the shared principles, beliefs and ideals that set the organisation apart from its competitors. They demonstrate integrity and accountability to external stakeholders and help to build a positive culture.
Behaviours depict how employees will behave in order to bring the Values to life. They are articulated as tangible on-the-job actions that can be objectively observed, measured and developed.
For Purpose and Values to be successfully developed and embedded, they need to be defined through a co-creation process; firstly with the Senior Leadership Team in order to clearly define Purpose and to set a baseline for Values, and then with a Values Project Team to fully develop Values and related Behaviours. This team should represent employees at all levels and various roles across the organisation including representation from SLT.
Use of a change management model such as ADKAR with employees involved in the co-creation process can be useful for navigating the journey, ensuring early buy-in and employee engagement, leading to a better chance of successful implementation and embedding.
Every organisation is different; people, size, culture, industry, context all have an impact on the way Purpose and Values are developed, so proposing a standard development process that is going to work for all organisations is not possible, or desirable.
One thing is for sure though – strong input from all senior leaders at all phases is imperative for success.
Our OD Consultants bring value through their ability to:
Depending on the organisation’s size and number of workshops required, we can conduct ‘train the facilitator’ sessions to enable an internal person to lead these workshops across the organisation.
If you’d like some help with developing Purpose and Values, contact Nicky or Kyran on
03 943 2373 or email@example.com.