Becoming a Values-driven Culture

Nancy Stampahar
February 5, 2009 — 2,426 views  
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Do employees in your organization get their work completed in the ways its desired values are written? Do the actions of managers match their words?  If your answer is "no" to either of these questions, your organization is most likely experiencing performance issues and not reaching its optimal potential.

Your culture is your organization's personality. It answers the questions, "What's it like to work around here?". It is the "how" people perform within your organization.  A culture strategy is formed by shared belief systems and values that are intended to support both business strategies and personal development.   For example, if your organization really values customer service, does it really know what your customers think of your service? Or, if your organization really values self-directed employees, are you hiring people who take initiative?  A value-driven culture supports the human behaviors that bring about enthusiasm, passion and commitment, which are critical for success.

Components of a Culture Strategy

  1. Vision of the Future
  2. Shared Values Aligned With Systems and Processes
  3. Critical Success Measures
  4. Walk of the Talk
  5. Accountability

What is "your" vision" of "your" future?  It has been proven over and over again, people who are proactive and future oriented versus those who are complacent, reactive and past oriented, are much happier and fulfilled with both their personal and professional lives. Those who remain stuck in the same old, same old are just watching life and careers pass them by instead of living and embracing all of the world's vast, wonderful opportunities.

If you want your organizational culture to become employee-retention focused, you will have to align your human resources systems within your culture and business strategies to model behaviors that support your new focus. If you want your personal culture to be balanced with human relationships and fun, you will have to align your personal activities with your core needs and values. You must do something different for something different to occur.

To help you discover your values, think about how you want your organization and yourself to be perceived by others. Jot down the adjectives that you want your community, customers, employees, stakeholders and vendors to say about your ways of operating and doing business. These adjectives will help you shape your future by mirroring them with the appropriate actions and goals. They will help you begin to understand your values.

To further determine your desired values, ask yourself, "What competencies and traits do I want my employees or my own character to demonstrate?".  Next, list the specific behaviors that will be observed and measured according to your desired competencies and traits.  Finally, you must walk the talk and make your actions match your words. Once you determine what you value both personally and organizationally, it will be extremely critical to walk the talk. If not, cynicism, pessimism and failure will prevail.

Since values demonstrate "how" you do what you do, your daily decisions and actions portray your ways of being and doing.  Values shape behaviors and help to ensure your vision comes to fruition with the most effective and efficient approaches.  They answer the questions, "How do we get our work done around here?", or "How do I build a relationship with someone?", or "How do we function as a team?".

Examples of Values

Accountability and Empowerment

Collaboration and Teamwork

Communication and Conflict Resolution

Customer Service

Flexibility and Open-mindfulness

Fun and Laughter

Growth and Innovation

Kindness and Respect

Self-awareness and Self-direction

Personal and Professional Development

Quality of Outcomes

When you decide to live and work according to your desired values, your responses and activities will be more effective and efficient, which will bring you greater fulfillment, productivity and less stress.  You will begin making daily decisions that mirror your values.  You will achieve your organizational goals, and you will carry out your vision.

Nancy Stampahar is a sought-after organizational development consultant, trainer, and speaker, with a degree in human resource management, and the author of peace, love and lemonade: a recipe to make your life sweeter, Stampahar owns and directs Silver Lining Solutions, a consulting firm that specializes in adversity/change management, assertiveness/conflict resolution, empowerment, leadership, and team building. Visit:

Nancy Stampahar


Nancy Stampahar inspires people into action with her enthusiasm and lemons to lemonade wisdom and expertise. She is the author of the 2009 IPPY Award winning self-help, inspirational book, peace, love and lemonade: a recipe to make your life sweeter and a sought-after organizational development consultant, trainer and speaker. Nancy solely owns and directs her business Silver Lining Solutions. She earned her BSBA in human resource management from Robert Morris University, after she decided to make lemonade. She received the 2009 Joe Ott Award from ACHIEVA, which serves people with disabilities in recognition of outstanding vision, volunteer leadership and generosity of spirit.