Guest blog: Living your organisation’s values in this coronavirus world

15 July 2020

Tags: Ethical Values

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One question we are frequently asked by clients is how to bring company Values to life. With the pandemic forcing organisations to find new ways of working, your set of values could be an invaluable tool to help support managers and teams. Indeed, a crisis is the very time we should be mobilising them and making them work for us…

Take a typical set of values such as

  • Respect
  • Collaboration
  • Leadership

Great sentiments. But the key is to get your people discussing them. Help them work out what they mean for them in their particular role, in their day to day context. This will start to take the values from being aspirational (but often empty!) words sitting on the website to something people really connect to.

So how could you do this?

There are a number of ways to generate discussion about values (the key is the word “discussion”!)

Here are 2 thoughts

1.    Get a group of your people together (via Zoom, MS Teams etc) and ask them to each take one value and identify 

  • one example of where they have demonstrated that value in the last month
  • one example of where a team member /colleague has demonstrated that value in the last month
  • what they could be doing differently to demonstrate that value in coming weeks

You could have a version of this at the beginning of your team meeting too.

2.    Each value could be used to look at how we need to work differently as the workplace continues to evolve and to identify practical actions to take.

Take each value and pose questions under each for the group to answer. For example....

What does respecting each other look like in the context of remote working?
What does it look like for our interactions on video conferencing or instant messaging channels?
Where are the parameters with our behaviour – is it Ok for Facebook rants and jokey memes posted in the evening to then be shared on work channels like Slack or WhatsApp?

How will managers facilitate collaboration when everyone is working remotely?
How could your managers create peer support for each other?
How do you ensure involvement from everyone, remembering that the technology may be very new to some and your quieter introverts may not want to “battle for airtime” on an extended team call?

In crisis situations, teams look to their managers for direction and clarity. And they need it regularly.
One of our favourite quotes is from Justin King Ex CEO of Sainsbury’s who said “When you think you have communicated enough, it is time to start again.”
Never has this been more true. Communication provides context for people at a time when they will be feeling completely at sea.
So, what does good leadership look like for your current set up?
What touchpoints should you put in place?
How will you ensure the balance between cascading information and giving space to listen to your people and their concerns?

This won’t provide all the answers but looking at your new team set up through the lens of your values could help to bring clarity to the steps you need to take and clearly demonstrate how living the Values can help support everyone.

For more practical guidance on living your values, Stella Chandler, Director of Development will be taking part in the IBE webinar Business Ethics in Action: bringing core values to life in a time of crisis on Wednesday 22 July at 12:00 BST.



Tracy Powley
Tracy Powley

Operations Director, Focal Point Training and Consultancy Ltd

Tracy is co-director of Focal Point Training - specialists in helping organisations tackle inappropriate behaviour and build respectful, inclusive workplaces. Focal Point particularly help address the behavioural “grey” areas, which managers often find difficult to manage and can be very excluding and detrimental to great company performance.

Prior to launching Focal Point, she had over 10 years’ experience as a Director of a growing business in the private sector and as a Management and Leadership Development consultant working with a range of organisations. 

Along with her co-director Stella Chandler, she has run Focal Point since 2001 and has led the team to achieve Gold and Champion status with Investors in People and to become an approved ILM centre.  

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