Giving Voice to Values

"I continue to marvel at the number of companies that require employees to align their personal values with those of the organization, yet do not provide a platform from which those values can be voiced, especially if they happen to conflict."

Friday, February 27, 2015

Corporate valuesI had lunch today with a young man who wanted to visit with me about a career change. He related a recent occurrence, where he was asked to overlook company protocol in order to accommodate a significant sale that would have generated a record transaction in revenue. After numerous attempts to resolve the situation with no success, he was compelled to report the occurrence to his general manager.
 
The dynamics involved were considerable. First, this young man was fairly new to the company, while the employee making the sale had been with the company for some time. Second, the general manager had also been with the company for some time and had the complete trust of the founder of the company, as he’d always provided consistent sales results from year to year. Third, the sale was for a record number of dollars and would have meant a considerable incentive (in addition to regular compensation) for everyone involved, including this young man. Fourth, and not least, the accommodation being requested was clearly a violation of the company’s protocol with regard to this kind of transaction.
 
In the three short years the young man had been employed, he’d been reinforced often with how important the core values and culture of the company were to its continued stability and sustainability. Additionally, it wasn’t coincidental that those core values also aligned with those of this young man. It was precisely why he’d chosen to begin his career with this company in the first place. Now, he was being directed (by the general manager) to rationalize those values for the sake of profitability and personal gain.
 
How ironic it is that the topic most written about in the country today is leadership, yet we see this scenario play out over and over again, not just in corporations, but in nonprofits, faith-based organizations, public services, and at the highest levels of government, as well. Innumerable management studies conducted over time consistently illustrate that a values-based leadership model is the most effective in terms of sustainability and profitability. Yet, the most dominant model in the marketplace or any other sector today is still that of directed leadership based upon power and authority; in short, a leadership model that is predicated upon short-term results for immediate gratification.
 
I’ve always believed that the reason for breaches of integrity are more because of the opportunities provided by a lack of strong leadership than because of the lack of character of those in violation. That will always continue to be the case where a platform for voicing values is not provided by the leadership of the organization, for they are the only ones who can do so.

 

Maxie Carpenter

 

   Maxie Carpenter
   Adjunct Instructor, JBU Graduate Business

Blog HomePosted By: Maxie Carpenter - 2/27/15 3:15 PM

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