Volume 76, July 2007: Values-driven Organizations

Keyzine: An E-zine for Leaders about the People Side of Business

This is a monthly electronic magazine for anyone who wants to be a better leader, coach, facilitator, or simply, to tune up their people skills. It is a complimentary publication, devoted to the next evolution of Quality Thinking.

Publisher: © Key Associates, LLC, 2007 ISSN # 1545-8873

“The values by which we are to survive are not rules for just and unjust conduct, but are those deeper illuminations in whose light justice and injustice, good and evil, means and ends are seen in fearful sharpness of outline.” — Jacob Bronowski

“If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities, and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse gift will find a fitting place.” — Margaret Mead

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambitions inspired, and success achieved.” — Helen Keller

“A people that values its privileges over its principles soon loses both.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower


  • What’s Hot in Leadership
  • Maintaining Yourself as a Leader
  • Frequently Asked Questions from Leaders
  • Educational Opportunities
  • Useful Websites & Newsletters
  • Articles/Publications

What’s Hot in Leadership

  • Contemplation of personal values. Guiding the organization in articulating its values.
  • Translating the values into principles: guidelines for behavior.
  • Consistently living word and deed, and being strong enough to call others on that.

Maintaining Yourself as a Leader

Organizational transformation always starts with personal transformation. The deepest connection bonding people together is shared values.

Values guide our decisions and actions, in an unconscious way. We leaders may be out of touch with what our values are.

Identify and explore your core values – name 4-6 that really matter. Write your own definition of them, take an inventory of how well you are living up to these values, and adapt your actions accordingly.

Then do the same with your organization. What is the intersect between your values and your group’s? A high degree of alignment is invaluable in orchestrating cultural change.

Frequently Asked Questions

“Define ‘values’.”
Values mean different things to different people. Some see them as “ideals” – a principle, standard, or quality – that we experience as inherently good and desirable (often called end values or intrinsic values). An example might be “honesty” or “courage.” Others refer to how one should conduct oneself and behave toward others (called instrumental values). An example might be “forgiveness.”
The root is valor, which means strength. Values are implicit and influence every sector of our lives: our moral judgment, our relationships, our commitments to personal and organizational goals. Their strength is in their power to guide action.
“How do we identify our team’s values?”
If everyone had the same set of values, it would be easy to work as a team. Here are some questions to surface and clarify your team or organization’s value set (Scott et al., 1993):
  • What do we stand for?
  • What behaviors would mirror these values?
  • How do we treat our employees?
  • How do we treat our customers?
  • What are the core values that are more important to us than profits?
  • How do we want to treat each other at work?
  • How do we want to be seen by the community?

There are preset lists of values to look at and draw from:

Have everyone list five: one per post-it and examine the commonalities.

“How does one know a organizational value is really a value?”
  • It is a collective belief organization-wide.
  • It determines the norms/standards for acceptable behavior.
  • People know and care when the value is not adhered to.
  • It is enduring.
  • There are myths, rituals, and stories that support its existence.

See Mindful Leadership.

“Could we see some examples of company values?”


Evaluate your business values: List of Business Values.

An HR how-to on Values: Identify and Live Your Personal Values.

Key Associates offers leadership training and facilitation of retreats to form an organization’s mission, vision, and values.

Useful Websites & Newsletters

Selected websites on human values.

An assessment of values for employees and job-seekers Workplace Values Assessment.

Keyzines on related topics: Ethics, The Power of Vision, On Purpose, and rincipled Leadership.



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