The value of values

There is a lot of talk in the business community about values, but I can’t help but notice that there is less talk about what those values should look like, and about whether or not they are the “right” values for your employees, your customers and your firm. Let’s face it; everyone—from saints to serial killers—has some kind of values. Values aren’t inherently good or bad, they just… are.

Corporate values are no different. They aren’t necessarily virtuous, they are simply a representation of what is important to an organization. Sometimes those values revolve around ethics, sometimes they are based on best practices, or goals and corporate agendas. So how do we determine what values are positive and productive for a business? What gives corporate values their worth?

Here at Powerlink, we try to embrace positive, actionable values that empower employees and have a positive impact on the community. Our core values—Powerlink PRIDE: Passionate, Relationship Builder, Innovative, Diverse, Ethical—speak both to who we are as a company and who we aspire to be in our dealings with customers, with the community, and with each other. I firmly believe that a significant part of an executive’s job is to work to translate corporate values into the professional behaviors we want to see.

Values drive our behavior. They have to function as a guide: by setting goals and helping to promote the right response emotionally for a specific situation. When outlining your professional values, it’s important to have them not just reflect what your company is, but also where you want it to go; your values should serve as both a representation and an inspiration.

Once you have that value framework in place, you can use it to help motivate people to react in positive ways. On their own, they are just words on a wall, but if you can clearly translate those values into behaviors, your company will be that much stronger, and will be better positioned to provide the kind of industry-leading products and services that distinguish leaders from a crowded and competitive field.

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