It never triggers positive response from me when I hear people making statements about themselves /just for fun a few examples: I am tough, I couldn’t care less, I never give up, I stand up to anybody, I never get intimidated, I believe in diversity, I am a (leadership, ethics, moral, whatever) authority, I don’t care about money, I am the best, I do whatever it takes, I am smart, etc. etc./ The impulse or the intention to do this, quite logically, is to cover something up, most likely that reality is the opposite of the statement; otherwise the statement wouldn’t make any sense, since stating the obvious almost never makes sense; there is no healthy impulse to make statements about obvious things. An obviously successful body builder for example would never make the statement: I have larger than average muscles (unless he has complexes, or issues).
Now the point
There’s so much talk about aligning personal values to company values, that it’s worth addressing this in a few lines.
Making statements about values have become a business agenda. “We value integrity”. “We stand up for what we believe”. “One word: honesty!” “We are courageous”. “We treat people fairly”.
Why do you tell me that? Do you think I don’t? Or if you assume I don’t, do you think this will surely scare me away? Or do you perhaps hope that this will make me decide buying your products or joining your company? What makes you want to state values? What makes you believe these values are yours? Do you really believe that this differentiates you from other companies? By the way, what do you mean “we”? Who came up with the value statement idea in your company ?
Values existed before companies did. They don’t come from companies or individuals; it is non-sense to talk about company values vs. individual values. Quality people align themselves to values, this is what gives them quality. Period.
Fact is: there are many people working in any organization who don’t align to any values, or who are ready to compromise their stated values as soon as the conditions become disadvantageous. And there are many organizations who operate solely by quantitative rather than qualitative considerations; when they do consider values, they use them only to improve (quantitative) performance.
The point is to throw away the pink glasses, gather the brute strength you need to face reality. Do you really want to transform your organization around values? Do you want to turn the table and use/leverage performance measures to preserve value systems?
Instead of making value statemenets, cherish the stories you may have about big moments, when you decided to sacrifice money/profit to accommodate, encourage, sustain values, perhaps principles!