Enterprise Innovation Through Values
Aligning VALUES within an organization is a crucial element for generating new forms of sustainable innovation.
Organizational values mapping is for companies of people who understand that values are the foundation for all group activity, including:
- Human Resources; hiring the right staff
- Public Relations; creating meaningful messages
- Marketing; targeting the best customers
- Engineering; designing with the best technologies
- Procurement; selecting ideal supporting products
- And so much more
What are Values?
In today’s life our search for personal meaning is a growing interest at home, at work, and in society. Meaningfulness is directly linked to values. If you can better understand your own values and the group you identify with, you are moving toward a more meaningful way of life. Aspects of the values/meaning equation include:
- Instructions, rules, or guides to behavior that we can imitate or learn
- Comprehension that is communicated and reinforced in our written and spoken word
- Sustaining glue that creates the bond in our relationships and defines the social culture around us
- Re-prioritization of values we practice and motivation to act on the transformation that is required
Navigating Toward Meaning and Fulfillment
Research indicates that personal meaning and fulfillment are often a consequence of being able to practice and live the values we hold most dear. Experiencing continued meaning makes us more hopeful, which opens us up toward personal growth and transformation. Some of the areas that it influences are:
- Being more aware of our preferred set of values – called our Fields of Meaning
- Knowing and connecting the relationship between our personal values and living a meaningful life
- Being able to notice, choose, practice and live our preferred values in daily life
- Experiencing meaning as a motivating factor to guide our active support in the making of a better world around us
Values, Culture, and Meaning
Often today our lives are rich with activity between family, friends or work. But in this hectic pace, or when things suddenly change – illness, loss of job or a friend, we feel something isn’t quite right. In fact we may even feel depressed or lost and do not know why. At this point our search for meaning becomes of great personal interest and concern. This does not go away when we are at our jobs. Rather, it heavily influences our effectiveness in our social roles. To often, when we are struggling to find meaning, we struggle to find the ‘means’ in a world that looks so uninterested in us while we are in a life transition. Let alone that of the individual. Where does an organization turn to when it’s purpose is not clear or lost? The only way to reorganize is to start with a values discussion between it’s people. Values help to bring that reconnecting energy back into a group and revitalize is essence and recharge its drive toward purposeful action and production.
Cultural vs Individual Values
Values-instructions, rules or guides to behavior that we can imitate or learn, always exist within a social environment-work, family, community- that we refer to as culture. Our experience is that members of the culture create a unique field of meaning according to a specific set of values that are collectively practiced. Different sets of collectively practiced values account for different cultures and different fields of meaning. Often as individuals mature and change they feel that their personal priority values no longer align with the set of values defined by their surrounding culture. Consequently when the individual participates in this culture they feel unappreciated, unseen and marginalized. This dynamic takes place in families, between organizations and their customers, within organizations, within and between teams-in all social settings. It is this misalignment that creates the need to find and create new fields of meaning.
How Does Value Creation Create Success?
When individuals assess their values, they learn how they can best fit themselves into a company. If an entire group goes through a values assessment, the combined information begins to map why an organization does what it does. When you understand what you and your company does at a level above the actual productive doing, you begin to create meaning. Thus, developing a group values map can become the foundation for becoming a healthier, balanced, more productive group of people, from clarifying the corporate mission, to determining who and how your employees are hired, to realizing what products should be produced, to how they are marketed and sold.
Our ability to be competent is dependent on our alignment with a given field of meaning. Some situations, like start-ups and mergers both organizationally and familial, are by definition cultures in flux with no established field of meaning. Until the field of meaning is established cooperation and collaboration is awkward and difficult. People don’t always understand why, “I was competent in my previous job, so why not now?” Without a common field of meaning based on a common set of values, interpersonal communications will be difficult, frustrating and confusing.
When the individual’s values align with peers there is a noticeable increase in ability to be understood and cooperative behavior is much easier. “Shared meaning” is achieved naturally. But ‘shared meaning’ within an organizational culture does not guarantee ‘shared meaning’ between the organizational culture and its customer.
Practicing one’s values involves wise choices about the cultures we create and where we spend time and participate. In some cases, the culture may challenge us to grow, whereas in others it may help to maintain the status quo. Or we may even feel like it is forcing on us an unwholesome set of values. If we are not aware of this dynamic, we may end up blaming ourselves for not having the will to change, when in fact a whole different awareness and strategy is needed that involves the collective, and not just you as an individual.
Values Mapping Assessment Tools
The ljMap tools, developed by Scott Bristol, help to identify, measure, map, and rank your group. It helps to guide appropriate change in your organization and personal lives. A good values mapping process helps individuals, teams, and large groups identify values that are meaningful and significant to them. With ljMap, a relationship continuum is used to build on an organizational culture that aligns its values across its leadership, workforce, affiliates, and its customers. It helps to bring together different cultures and move individuals toward mutually desired relationships and collaboration.
Review a sample values map.
Creating an Organizational Value Proposition from Individuals Core Values
Now you understand a bit more about the values equation carries incredible power inside your organization. Once values are identified and aligned, you will be amazed at how your organization can more easily align company directives by making each individual’s personal values meaningful in the process. This sets the stage for a real values proposition to emerge that customers want to become connected to.