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What Are Values And Why Are They Important? - Part 5

Corporate Values and Mutual Alignment of Values

In part 1 to 4 of this series we have learned what values are, why they are important, how they are different between individuals, the value of integrity and what happens if you violate your values. We haven’t discussed how to get along with other people with differing values. This is best explained by looking at corporate values.

Personal values can be different than corporate values. In most cases, they should be different. Corporate values are established to serve the corporation, its employees, and its customers. These values must align with personal values, but they don’t have to be the same. Take Disney for example. Disney’s values are safety, courtesy, show, and efficiency. Most family oriented people would not choose efficiency over spending time with family. However, working at Disney does not force a family-oriented person to violate the value of family. It simply means that the person’s values must be aligned with Disney’s values while at work. They are sharing values.

Disney understands that an employee may have to leave work should a family member become injured or sick. The company would never force that employee to remain working so it could operate a show more efficiently. Disney understands that would violate all their values (safety, courtesy, show, and efficiency would all be negatively affected due to the employee’s concern about the family member). This is what shared values are all about.

Similarly individuals with different values can still interact with each other positively and build great relationships. They do this by a mutual alignment of value systems as part of their interaction. This means that while they are together they are careful to not violate the values of the other people while at the same time maintaining their own. This can be accomplished by embracing shared values while together.

Take business partners, for example, with differing sets of values. One is single and is totally career focused and the other is married and values family over his career. These two individuals can have a great personal and professional relationship if they embrace shared values while together and are careful not to violate the personal values of their partner. This takes understanding and commitment as there will always be stresses against this relationship. The single person will be inclined to want the family oriented person to work longer hours and attend business oriented functions. The family oriented person may be directly opposed to both of these objectives. The two business partners must identify these areas of contention and put agreements or shared values in place that allow for a prosperous business as well as a productive relationship. This takes commitment to shared values, respect for each other and perseverance.

In cases where differing values do violate or negatively impact personal values, action must be taken. In the corporate environment the corporation must decide if it needs to realign its values to better serve its employees. If the organization does not choose realignment, the individual must decide if he or she can continue working in that environment. Typically, the individual will have to move into a different line of work. Failure to move out of that environment will only result in continued stress and job dissatisfaction. In the case of personal relationships, if agreement around shared values cannot be reached and values are continually violated by one or both of the parties then it is best to sever the personal relationships.

Fortunately, this does not have to be a common occurrence. In most cases, individuals are serious about their relationships and a mutual agreement around shared values is reached. On these agreements wonderful, long term relationships are founded.

Submitted by:

David M. Taylor

David is the author of Strength Zone: Discover Your Place of Maximum Effectiveness and the CEO of Strength Zone Inc. (http://www.strengthzone.ca)




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