Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What Is The Value of Values?

A lot is written about values; recently in “The Secret” and “Good to Great” and not so recently in “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and “The Bible”. So why is this important to the financial statement?

How is it that professional sports attract 50, 100, and 150 thousands of fans week in and week out? Simply put, it is the power of shared values. When we relate what we value with that of something larger than ourselves, we will do some pretty extraordinary things. Most of the time, we do this without even a conscious thought.

Professional sports provide great examples of marketing towards these values, and continually measure it against the bottom line. Business’s market their values to consumers and continually measure this marketing against the bottom line. So why it is so hard to comprehend that corporate values can be marketed to our employees and continually measured to the bottom line? It can, it is easy, and because few pay much attention to it, it quickly distinguishes a great company from a good one quickly.

The following presents yet another recent survey evidencing the disconnect that exists in employee personal values and corporate values. How powerful will a company be with employees that are as raving of fans as Pittsburgh Steelers, Penn State Nittany Lions, or Minnesota Vikings fans?

Survey: Employer’s, Employees’ Core Values Sometimes Don’t Coincide

One-third of employees say their employer’s core values do not always line up with theirs, according to a survey of 615 Americans by CO2 Partners, a Minnesota leadership development firm.

The telephone survey was conducted March 7 to 11 by International Communications Research.

Gary Cohen, CO2 Partners president, said this situation has the potential to lead to employees experiencing an internal ethical conflict, which in turn, might be a factor in the high disengagement levels at many workplaces.

“Management often seems to expect employees to ignore their personal values in favor of the ones posted on the wall,” he said.

In regard to the question, “Which of the following best describes your attitude toward your own core values and how you earn a living?” the responses are as follows:

  • You know what your core values are and they are consistent with your employer’s: 44 percent
  • You know what your core values are, but they are not always consistent with your employer’s: 30 percent
  • You are not certain what your core values are, but you never feel uncomfortable working for your employer: 11 percent
  • You don’t feel core values have much to do with the work you do: 10 percent