hands of different colorsCan you easily describe your corporate culture? Is it a high-performance, positive place to work? What words would you use to describe the culture of your organization?

If those questions are challenging to answer or the words that come to mind are less than desirable, it may be time to create or revisit your organization’s values.

If you haven’t adopted shared values for your workplace, here are a few good reasons to consider it. Shared values create:

  • ✫ A strong sense of team
  • ✫ A shared commitment to workplace behaviour, ethics and support of each other
  • ✫ A tangible set of expectations for each team member

Shared values clearly articulate an organization’s commitments to each other and to the people they serve. Developing and adopting shared values increases the level of accountability for everyone in the organization. The further you share these values, the greater your accountability to them. Displaying your values says a lot about your organization, particularly to visitors. Sharing what you stand for and what your clients can expect when doing business with you makes a big impression on your audience.

Creating a set of shared values can be as easy as answering these questions:

  • ✫ How do we want to treat each other?
  • ✫ How do we want to treat our clients?
  • ✫ What do we expect from ourselves?
  • ✫ What words do we want our clients to use when describing our organization and our team?

This doesn’t have to be a complex exercise resulting in a massive document. Effective team values are short, sweet and memorable. When I worked for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Organizing Committee, we had a simple set of values that were invaluable to managing a complex project with multifaceted work teams.

  • ✫ Team
  • ✫ Trust
  • ✫ Excellence
  • ✫ Creativity
  • ✫ Sustainability

Some of my most fun and rewarding work is helping workplace teams develop, describe and adopt their core values. Virtually every workshop is filled with excitement and positivity as colleagues commit to working better together. Core values can be the tool that inspires people to improve, can be a guideline for decision-making (e.g. Does this decision reflect our values?) and provides a framework for accountability and conflict resolution.

Most importantly, it strengthens your team. Practicing shared values improves team spirit and performance, reduces workplace conflict and reflects an organization committed to excellence, honesty and mutual respect — in other words, a culture that rocks inside and out. And that’s something worth sharing.

Empowering change agent, Maureen “Mo” Douglas delivers powerfully positive public, workplace and leadership engagement. Click here for Mo’s FREE e-Guide to Better Public Engagement. Follow her on Twitter.