Leadership, Vision

Core Values Stink

Taking part in an excellent seminar today at the Tyndale Centre for Leadership. Peter Dickens from The Iris Group is talking about strategic planning. He’s very good. We’ve spent some time talking about Core Values. Peter makes a strong case that values needs to be the starting point of developing vision. This is contrary to the traditional view that starts with the vision and then builds Mission and Values to fit. Peter is right. The challenge of Core Values is that they are inherent and rarely acknowledged. In the rare cases where they are posted they often don’t reflect reality. Values aren’t something we impose. They emerge over time. The way to find them is to observe, tell the stories, and sniff around. Every organization “smells” a certain way based on their real values, and it may take an outsider or newcomer to recognise the scent. Core value change is exceedingly difficult. A shower and a quick blast of body spray can’t cover up the fragrance (or stench) of what your behaviours prove is true. How do you and your team smell?