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Organisational Values and How to Define Them

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

Organisational values are the guiding principles, beliefs, and ideals that define the culture and behaviour of a company. They serve as a set of standards that guide decision-making, actions, and interactions within the organisation. They should not be empty words on a wall or in a mission statement; rather, they operate as the deeply ingrained beliefs and norms that shape an organisation's identity and help establish its unique character. Defining organisational values involves a process of introspection and consultation within the organisation. Here are some steps to define them effectively Identify Core Beliefs: Begin by identifying the core beliefs and principles that should guide the organisation's actions and behaviour. These beliefs should align with the organisation's mission and purpose. Involve Key Stakeholders: Gather input from key stakeholders, including employees, leaders, customers, and other relevant parties. This ensures that the values reflect the perspectives and aspirations of those who are part of or impacted by the organisation. Prioritise Values: Narrow down the list of potential values to a few key ones. Having too many values can make it challenging to communicate and uphold them effectively. Ensure Clarity and Simplicity: Make sure the values are easy to understand and remember. Use clear language that resonates with people across the organisation. Integrate into Culture and Operations: Organisational values need to be integrated into the organisation's culture and day-to-day operations. This includes aligning hiring practices, performance evaluations, and decision-making processes with the defined values. Lead by Example: Leadership plays a crucial role in reinforcing organisational values. Leaders should exemplify these values in their actions and decisions, serving as role models for others to follow. Communicate and Reinforce: Regularly communicate the organisational values to all employees and stakeholders. Use various channels, such as meetings, newsletters, and training sessions, to reinforce their importance and application. Celebrate Success and Address Challenges: Celebrate when employees demonstrate the values effectively and recognise their efforts. At the same time, address any challenges or situations where the values were not upheld and use them as opportunities for learning and growth. Periodic Review: Organisational values may need to evolve over time as the organisation grows and adapts to changing circumstances. Periodically review the values to ensure they remain relevant and meaningful.

Defining and upholding organisational values is a continuous process that requires ongoing commitment and effort from all levels of the organisation. When done effectively, values can shape a positive and purpose-driven organisational culture that attracts and retains employees, fosters trust with stakeholders, and contributes to overall success and impact


Organisational values, child holding soil with a small plant growing.

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