A sense of purpose

Everyday, we are involved in making hundreds of decisions at work and at home. These decisions are a reflection of our values and beliefs, and they are always directed towards a specific purpose. That purpose is the satisfaction of our individual or collective (organisational) needs.

Organisations spend much time and efforts identifying the “right values”. This can be a lengthy process but critical to the success of the endeavour. Values need to be clear, concise and identifiable by everyone in the organisation. Values are closely linked to culture and the way “things are done” and “how people work together” .

Values workshop

I recently worked with a large University department to help them  identify and proritise their core values. This was linked to a wider strategy review aiming to adapt to changes in context and services.  We worked in groups, with key representatives from the service,  operational and adminstrative teams.  I split the session in 3 distinct parts with clear objectives:

  •  1) Identify a list of relevant values , aligned with the mission, which can be used and embedded by all;
  • 2) Share (existing/new) stories, rituals and routines which will support and illustrate the values identified;  
  • 3) Identify a list of processes and measures to embed the values throughout the department and evaluate success. The workshop was highly participative and collaborative which enabled rich discussions across teams.

It is important to take the time to engage with staff early on and ensure everyone contributes and included in the change. This provides a higher chance of success and an opportunity for everyone involved to voice their opinions and discuss what the values mean to them. This can be done through stories, rituals and routines – providing explanations and context linked to each value and their meaning and how this impacts teams and individuals. 

Useful links

If you want to find out more about the role and purpose of values check this site

This article in Forbes explains how to ensure your values are aligned to your organisational culture