Step 4 for a Culture of Ownership
May 3, 2016
Step 6 for a Culture of Ownership
May 4, 2016

“People who are clearest about their personal vision and values are significantly more committed to their organizations.” 

James Kouzes and Barry Posner: A Leader’s Legacy

Most people intuitively have good solid values, but it is the rare individual who has crystalized his or her values, much less carefully pays attention to how those values are reflected in the choices they make about how to prioritize time, spend money, build relationships, and do their work.

This is important for your organization because, as Kouzes and Posner point out in the quote above, the more clear people are about their personal values, the more enthusiastically they will embrace the values of their organization. Furthermore, as shown in the illustration above, while the stated core values of the organization define strategies (e.g. a core value of “Excellence” might drive a customer service strategy), it is personal values that shape culture.

One of the most important, yet frequently overlooked, investments an organization can make is in helping people do a better job of living their personal values – in the process helping them to be better workers, better caregivers, better managers by helping them to be better parents and better people.

The late Zig Ziglar reminded us that everyone listens to the same radio station – WIIFM, or What’s In It For Me? That’s why the indirect approach of helping people crystallize and operationalize their personal values is often the most effective way to inspire them to embrace the values of the organization (or to exit the organization if there is a conflict between personal and organizational values).


The heart and soul of our work at Values Coach is our 60-module course on The Twelve Core Action Values – you can see a curriculum outline at this link. We teach this as a 5-day train-the-trainer course, following which Certified Values Coach Trainers in the client organization teach the course to employees in an intensive 2-day class. The picture above shows one of the Values Trainers in the Culture of Ownership Training Room at Midland Memorial Hospital in Midland, Texas.

Post-course evaluations show a “would recommend to others” response of nearly 90 percent. There are a number of reasons for this, not least of which is the commitment and enthusiasm of the Values Trainers, but I think the most important is that people appreciate a program that’s not directly about customer service or the bottom line, but rather about helping them achieve their own goals by more effectively living their values. Of course, when that happens customer service and the bottom line tend to take care of themselves.

One client CEO called values training “the gift to our people that is also an investment in our organization.” Another told us “I got a whole new team and didn’t have to change the people because they changed themselves.”

By the way, if you live in West Texas please join us for the formal launch of the 2017 Year of Values Project in Midland – a free public presentation on May 11th at the Midland College Fine Arts Auditorium. Click here to download the flyer.

Next: Step 6 covers strategies to maintain your momentum and prevent backsliding and “program of the month” syndrome. You can see the introductory overview to this series at this link. On Friday I will send a link to a single document with the entire series.