I often poll my audiences to see how many work in or lead an organization that has published a statement of values. Usually about ¾ of the group raises their hands. I then ask a rhetorical question (not asking for hands to be raised) about whether those values have a “high snicker factor” throughout the organization. The CLEMMER Group’s survey and assessment work inside dozens of organizations helping them with leadership development and culture change shows that in about ¾ of the organizations with value statements, they are ignored, snickered at, or boost cynicism and disengagement.

“Like the money in a bank’s vault, values are the company’s treasure. Values reflect what the leader holds worthy, what the organization assigns worth. They are the ideals, principles, and philosophy at the center of the enterprise. They are protected and revered. They reveal the company’s heart and soul. They energize the covenant. Unlike stacks of $100 bills or gold ingots, these valuables are intangible. From them, however, flows the company’s life. Their force and spirit permeate the company at every level, and they become palpable in decisions and behavior.”
– Leonard L. Berry, Discovering the Soul of Service. The Nine Drivers of Sustainable Business Success

A lawyer had a jury trial in a very difficult litigation. The client who had attended the trial was out of town when the jury came back with its decision, which was for the lawyer and his client. The lawyer immediately sent a message to his client, reading “Justice has triumphed!” The client responded, “Appeal at once!”
– An old legal joke

“Trust is the conviction that the leader means what he says. It is a belief in something very old-fashioned, called ‘integrity.’ A leader’s actions and a leader’s professed beliefs must be congruent, or at least compatible. Effective leadership – and again this is very old wisdom – is not based on being clever; it is based primarily on being consistent.”
– Peter Drucker, The Essential Drucker

“The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.”
– Socrates, Classical Greek philosopher considered one of the founders of Western philosophy

“This was one of the most paradoxical findings from Built to Last –
core values are essential for enduring greatness, but it doesn’t seem to matter what those core values are. The point is not what core values you have, but that you have core values at all, that you know what they are, that you build them explicitly into the organization, and that you preserve them over time.”

– Jim Collins, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t.

“One organization put 500 of their top-level managers through a six-week executive program. But the vice presidents and the managing directors didn’t go through the program. So even though the president talks this great game, everyone in the organization looks up, they see these very senior managers behaving inconsistently, and they say this executive program is a joke.”
– Charles O’Reilly, author of Hidden Value: How Great Companies Achieve Extraordinary Results with Ordinary People

CLICK HERE to review my selection of short articles on organizational Vision, Values, and Purpose. CLICK HERE to review articles on the role of core values in Culture Change.

Complimentary Weekly Podcast of Firing on all Cylinders Excerpts Now Available (No Charge)

Just after Firing on All Cylinders: The Service/Quality System for High-Powered Corporate Performance was published (now over 100,000 copies sold), I recorded an audio series reading excerpts from the book. We are now making these freely available in a weekly podcast series. CLICK HERE to access the installments as they are posted. We’ll be posting all 10 segments over the next 10 weeks. On this page you can sign up to be notified whenever the next segment is available.

You can learn more about this series and look at an overview of the audio on the Firing on all Cylinders audio CD web site page.