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  • Writer's pictureErika Clegg

Close your eyes and tell me your values

I'm serious! If you don't look them up, can you reel off your company values? Or do they slip your mind?

Maybe you remember three out of five. Or maybe the spirit in which they are meant, but not the words. Quite possibly you know they exist but couldn't begin to say what they are. And that's you - a senior player. What happens as you look through the organisation to the factory floor, customer service team, your apprentices?

It's not unusual to have forgettable values, but if we agree that your culture is a corporate asset then I think we can also agree that people need to know it.

So how can you make that happen?

1) Make your values actions

Phrases like 'Bring positive energy' and 'Know what matters' indicate an action. This makes it easy to apply them, and repeated application makes things stick.

2) Relate them to your work

Whatever your firm does for a living, your values will be easier to remember if they relate to it. One logistics company we work with has 'We go the extra mile'. Sweet wordplay helps make it stick.

3) Put them in a logical order

Do you do that thing where you pick up the alphabet at certain points to remember where letters fit? Values that follow the order of the customer journey, for example, will be easier to remember because they're logical and have a recognisable pattern.

4) Keep it simple

Use the words that people use. Good values trip off the tongue rather than tying it in knots. Keep words short, stick to short phrases, and keep the list short too.

5) Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Hire, mentor, promote and say goodbye against your values. Run them through your marketing briefs, sales targets and brand strategies. Design your space, develop your product, plan innovations using them. Brief partners on them, and build them into your client guarantees. Whatever you do, whoever you do it for and with, your values statements sit front and centre. It's not just about showing them - it's about doing them, living them, being them.

6) Take your lead from literature

The delivery of content is as important as the content itself, and there are tricks from literature that will make your values sticky. Alliteration, rhythm and rhyme all help to plant words in the mind.

Values must be memorable, or they won't be applied. You can chat to us for more ideas and some thoughts on how your organisation specifically can approach this and create a superb corporate ethos.


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