Our Head of Programmes Kate Lowes talks about how we’ve started using our personal values to help us stay more connected as a team. Have you tried something similar? We’re keen to hear your perspectives!
I first came across the idea of a ‘values-led approach’ in 2020 when Tamara Gal-On, who was leading a strand of our leadership development programme, asked us all to complete an exercise called Identify your Values. If you haven’t done it before, I recommend it.
In the past I’d talked about values loosely and thought I had an understanding of what they were about. But doing this made me realise I’d never really interrogated what my own values were, or what it even meant to have personal values. It’s not just about having them, Tamara told us, it’s about knowing why and what those values are about. And more importantly, how they can be proactively used to perform, connect and lead as our very best selves. I became interested in the idea of exploring this approach as an organisation.
Since then, each of us at Brighter Sound has whittled down the 150 values on the list to just 2 primary values. We’ve shared these with each other, and Tamara has facilitated some company sessions to help us think about how we turn these values into behaviours. Or in other words, how we take them from an interesting talking point to something genuinely useful.
Three things I’ve observed since then
- It’s strengthened and personalised my working relationships. Opening up opportunities to reflect on values at work has given me a deeper understanding of myself in the first instance, but also a better understanding of my colleagues, particularly those that I line manage. Now we know each other’s values, it’s helped us to connect on a deeper level and almost adapt the way in which we work with each other.
- A values-led approach can improve and deepen job satisfaction, and you can start to find a more meaningful and personal connection with what you’re doing. On a practical level, we’ve started to integrate values into line management meetings and appraisals which is helping to measure this. Values aren’t set, they might evolve and change over time, but knowing your own values can help you to make professional decisions that align more closely with who you are at the core.
- It has helped us to connect and collaborate as a team and keep the culture of the organisation alive, even when working remotely. Values are inherently personal, but I’ve found that they can be applied successfully in a professional setting. It feels like an exciting new approach to thinking about organisational culture – really people-focused and authentic – which is closely aligned to the Brighter Sound values too.
So, what’s next?
Moving forward we’re committed to a values-led culture. We’re by no means experts and we’re very much at the beginning of our journey. A huge thank you to Tamara for helping us in the initial stages.
Over the next few months we’ll be exploring how our personal values connect to our broader organisational ones. Having spent time looking at our own values and thinking about how we put them into practice, we hope this will open up some good conversations about how we engage with the Brighter Sound values, beyond just a statement on the website or wall.
As Brené Brown argues in her book Dare to Lead, while also observing that only ten percent of the organisations she’s researched actually ‘operationalise’ their values:
“If you aren’t going to teach people the skills they need to show up in a way that’s aligned with those [company] values and then create a culture in which you hold one another accountable for staying aligned with the values – it’s better not to profess any values at all.”
Have you or your organisation explored a values-led approach? Or would you like to? We’d love this to be the start of a wider conversation. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know your thoughts, or to arrange a chat.
Want to find out more about values?