KAMPALA – “Great companies first build a culture of discipline and create a business model that fits squarely in the intersection of three circles. What they can be best in the world at, a deep understanding of their economic engine and the core values they hold with deep passion.” Isadore Sharp
Many organizations today have what is known as the “core values”. These core values are usually lined up after the vision, mission and strategic goals of the organization. The core values are thought of as the beliefs or behaviors that link the various stakeholders of the organization. They usually shape the vision of the organization indeed they define and determine the organizational culture.
Core values are supposed to be those behaviors which everybody in the organization believes in because they come out of the beliefs of individuals and this ultimately defines what we call the organizational culture.
But how does the organization create a culture of values? This is not an easy thing because individuals in the organizations have their own personal goals. They have their personal desires and beliefs and when they join an organization, they must be able to learn the cultures and values of the organization they have chosen to join and they have to make sure that there is subordination of individual values to the organizational values.
This is where ordinarily conflict arises when an individual’s goals and values fail to match the organizational values.
And how do you create a culture of values in organizations and also at individual level. When an organization is set up, it has certain intentions and these intentions come out in what is known as organizational goals. These intentions are described by the vision as seen as where the organization would wish to be in the coming years. These intentions finally find something unique which is called the mission of the organization. But the values are things that you live. They are not on paper. Nonetheless, the top managers of the organization may come up with certain values which we expect to be the code of conduct for the organization and members of the organizations to adapt and live by. How do you sell these values to the different members of the organization? It is significant that people understand the mission of the organization and where the organization intends to go but not everybody will see that. It is very important that to be able to create these values, there must be awareness, exposure usually through training.
Employees should be trained and made aware of the values of the organization. They should be made aware that for the organization to be able to achieve its goals, it needs to conduct itself in a certain manner.
Values are the core beliefs of the organization and these beliefs are normally reflected in the organization thinking and actions of the different members of the organization. In creating a value-based culture, the different members of the organization must be able to come together and accept that for us to achieve, this is how we must conduct ourselves.
Ordinarily whenever you see an organization form an opinion, that opinion is the description of the representation of the values that the public sees in that organization. If the organization is held in high esteem, it means therefore that the values in that organization are seen as the values that create that high esteem.
If an organization is perceived as corrupt it means therefore that the values in that organization reflect that the value people live that organization are those of corruption. Therefore, it is important that if you are going to create these values to be able to first of all understand what those values that the organization wishes to create. Most organizations have words like integrity, equity, innovativeness, time keeping, customer orientation, now as you create these values, it is important that the staff are trained in them. They are made aware about these ideals and how they need to be conduct themselves to be able to see that value. But if there is a conflict between what is on paper and what the public sees as who you are, then your organization or individual intended values are not lived.
The culture of values in the organization should start from the top. How do the top managers themselves behave, how they treat people in the organization, how they treat the other stakeholders and what do they say. All this is important in forming that value. This should then cascade down into the organization so that within the organization, people are able to see that this is how our top leadership behaves and this what our top leadership expects the various followers in the organization will then also follow suit. If top management is unable to live these values, it becomes very difficult in the lower levels of the organization. The principles which are the basis of policies in the organization all stem from the beliefs that the organization has and this should show up in the identity of the organization. When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier. Culture and values provide a foundation upon which everything else is built.
Author; Maureen Tweyongyere, Director, Career & Skills Development Centre,
Member, National Taskforce on enhancement of Labour productivity