Values are one of my soapbox topics. Why? Simply because they create and preserve reputation, happiness and fulfilment, that’s all. Nothing major. Many people don’t know what their values are. I was tickled to read about the City’s letter to the Financial Times, signed by the big cheeses. Often companies have agreed their values and then behave the opposite. What are values? Values are the things that are important e.g. trust, integrity, learning, innovation etc and different people define the same value in different ways, making managing image like herding cats.
The purpose of the City’s letter? To distance themselves from past naughties by clubbing together to promote the image of integrity about the financial world and improve its brand. Integrity is one of my top values and to me means ‘do what you say you will do’. Imagine my surprise when I read this article on the same day my business banker had failed, for the third time in 6 months, to return my phone call, despite their proud declaration ‘we will return your call within 3 hours’ promise. Join up the dots.
Living the brand is more important than defining it. Underpromise and overdeliver, not the other way round. If your company has values stuck on the wall, or on your web site, make sure you are ‘walking the talk’, as otherwise it’s like tripping yourself up with an electric barbed wire and falling into a sea of starving piranhas. Not nice. The younger generation are very values conscious and being lovers of instant social media, will tweet your misdemeanour around the world faster than you can say ‘corporate social responsibility policy’. As I have been with my bank since I was 16, and am now 45, no need to explain that we will be getting divorced! Time to log onto Twitter…………
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