By Eve Vlemincx.
Establishing a vibrant and healthy organizational culture is crucial for long-term success. A powerful guiding question to shape this culture is: "What do we value?".
This question serves as a compass that directs the actions, behaviors, and attitudes of individuals within the organization. By consciously examining our values and striving to embody them, we can create a culture that fosters growth, respect and positivity.
The power of values:
Values are fundamental beliefs that define who we are as individuals and organizations. They act as a moral compass, guiding our decisions and actions. Identifying core values that align with the organization's mission and vision is essential for building a strong culture. Merely displaying values on the wall is not enough and can have disastrous effects on the culture. Aligned is crucial and implies they must be lived and practiced to have a positive impact on the organizational culture.
Identifying our values:
Deep reflection and open conversations are necessary to identify our values. Leaders and team members must engage in introspection to uncover what truly matters to them. This process may require challenging conversations to address any misalignment between claimed values and actual behaviors.
If toxic behavior is pervasive in the organization, it indicates a misalignment with the stated values or ineffective enforcement. Toxic behavior negatively impacts the culture. To name some, it destroys trust, stifles creativity and hampers productivity. Leaders must address such behavior promptly and create systems that discourage it, promoting a positive culture.
Embodying our values:
Identifying values is not enough. They must be consistently embodied to build a thriving culture. Leaders must serve as role models, exemplifying the values they promote and encouraging their teams to do the same. When everyone aligns actions with beliefs, the values become an intrinsic part of the culture.
Blindspots are unavoidable. Acknowledging and adressing them—unconscious biases or discrepancies between stated values and behaviors—is vital. This requires humility, empathy and openness.
Building a positive culture aligned with genuine values is a transformative journey. Values are the fundamental building blocks that shape and guide our culture. Whether we think we have them or we think we don’t, either way we are right.
About the Author Eve Vlemincx is a strategic advisor with expertise in a wide array of areas including legal digital transformation, innovation and leadership. She serves as an advisory council member for Harvard Business Review and is a Course Facilitator at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Eve is highly sought after as a keynote speaker and guest lecturer in various professional settings. Notably, she has been honored as a five-time recipient of the Stanford GSB LEAD Award.
Operating at the dynamic intersection of legal and business, Eve holds certifications from esteemed institutions such as Oxford, Harvard, Kellogg and Stanford Graduate School of Business. Additionally, she brings substantial experience as a seasoned lawyer specializing in corporate law and restructurings.
Eve's guiding philosophy is centered on working smarter, not harder, as she helps individuals and organizations navigate the complexities of today's rapidly evolving landscape.