As you may already know about our firm, we subscribe to the belief that work environments are made of up three components; strategy, design, and culture. This particular topic refers to the culture side. So, if culture reflects the attitudes and behavior that are characteristic of a group or organization, then core values represent the specific belief systems that make up a large part of that culture.
While adhering to core values has presented substantial challenges to many organizations throughout history, it seems increasingly easier today to find examples where a lack of structured, reinforced core values contributed to the downfall of entire organizations.
Core values are truly important to have, to live, and to reinforce on a daily basis – but to really believe that values are important to have it helps to first understand what core values are in the first place. I propose a three-part definition as follows:
- Values are statements of character.
- Values reflect an organization’s highest moral priorities.
- Values are what an organization gives worth to.
Do you know the character of your credit union? Do you know its highest moral priorities? Do you understand what (through its member interactions) it suggests to members and potential members is “worthy?”?
Think about this. Absent clear understanding and reinforcement of corporate core values, then behavior norms are left to individual interpretation or individual preference.
Take a moment to view your credit union as a member, from the front door. See for yourself if what you say you value is what is really delivered to the marketplace.
You might be surprised.