Values: Your Team’s Steering Wheel


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Most of us have a car. For it to run, it needs two things: first, an engine, right? And then a control system. Otherwise, it’s just going to run around. 

Your team is no different: your purpose is the engine that drives the team forward. And the values are the steering that guides your team.

The purpose defines why you do what you do; the values define how you do it. 

They are an essential part of healthy workplace culture. And they are the agreement on how your team and co-workers should behave. Values provide the framework within which you review decisions, accomplish tasks, and collaborate with others. Values are the controls.

Let me be clear: values are always there!

It’s just a question of whether you believe they are the right ones. The bigger the company, the more likely it is that values already exist. 

When I talk about values, one example always comes to mind: the company O2. I worked there for a few years. At O2, I often thought of two things: change management and values. Those were two things that O2 was brilliant at. They were something that the managing director at the time, Lutz Schüler, in whose department I was lucky to work, was absolutely proficient with: Leadership, change management and communicating values. If you worked at O2 during that time, I’m sure you remember their values. I know you don’t even have to think.

There were four of them:

  • Open
  • Trusted
  • Bold 
  • Clear

It’s awesome that I remember that. You can wake me up drunk at night, and I can spit out the values of O2. I left the company in 2011. I wonder if they still do it that way today.

However, in the last ten years, I have always taken over companies that had no clearly formulated and adopted values. 

What do you do then? That’s right: As with vision and mission statements, you sit down with the team and agree on values. Otherwise, the engine has no direction. 

However, you can’t use phrases that everyone already knows:

We’ve learned that the mission statement needs to fit your company, co-workers, industry and customers. The concrete values can then develop a positive pull and provide the people in your team, department or company with direction and support in their daily work.

Only then will you take advantage of the opportunity to increase the social competence of your colleagues. The values and vision help everyone build relationships with colleagues, leaders and customers.  

It is only through the interaction of vision, mission statement and values that teams can unfold their potential. Everything can be done in a more focused way. Values create a clear framework for action through their controlling effect and thus promote integrity. The vision is an inspiration for the future.

What I notice again and again: When vision, mission statement and values have taken hold, the positive attitude towards really everything increases: towards one’s team, one’s area or even the entire company.

Values as Control

In the long run, values and vision increase business results. Not only are they more fun, but they also make a financial difference. 

So go for it.

Next time, we’ll discuss how to embed hard-earned values, a mission statement, or a vision statement deeply and firmly into a company. I look forward to it. 

Photo Istocührungskräfte-im-business-team-gm1292458670-387255599k

About the coach​

Kai Boyd has been a leader, trainer and facilitator since 1989. He supports leaders and their teams to work together effectively, trustfully and with ease. This involves each and everyone – in their respective roles and as people. Tailor-made formats and genuine attention enable potential to unfold and synergies to emerge.

The graduate industrial engineer, managing director and former management consultant knows the requirements of his clients from many perspectives. He works systemically, strength- and solution-oriented. Leading international teams as well as work and academic programs in the USA and the UK enable him to always contribute the international perspective.

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