The Value of Values

30 November, 2015

I was recently approached with a question from a registered nurse who was frustrated by the nursing staff she had previously worked with. She said they were irresponsible and often behaved in ways that compromised the care of their patients. Her stress and frustration was obvious, and she asked me how they could behave that way and why management allowed the behavior to continue.

After some discussion and exploration of her experience, we concluded that the nurses on the staff didn’t have a clear focus on what was most important at work; they were not aligned with the stated values of the hospital. This led me to think about the importance of aligning values with expectations and behaviors in the workplace.

How many employees understand what it means to live out a workplace’s stated values?

Many companies have vision statements and clearly identified values. How many leaders refer back to the stated values as a guide for behavior? Values should be guiding principles for behavior, the means by which an organization’s goals and mission will be achieved—not just clever posters on the wall in the break room. Leaders should take the time to discuss with employees how values tie directly to actions, which either contribute to the organizational mission or detract from it. Clarity about values helps to reduce confusion and frustration for employees and just may prevent behaviors that undermine the mission. Taking the time up front to define your vision, mission and values helps to set a clear course for the organization.

At Dorsey Management Consulting, we help our clients learn new skills and expand their leadership capacity to better lead their organizations into the future. We help leadership teams learn how to work together more effectively and efficiently, enabling them to make sound and timely decisions in pursuit of achieving greater success. We partner with our clients to design and build succession plans and develop their future leaders. We coach executives to achieve higher self-awareness and better leaders of people. We do this in service of learning, helping each of our clients become better versions of themselves and achieving organizational goals.