Thought of the Day: Living Your Values

Thought of the Day: Living Your Values

Sid Smith

Yesterday I wrote of the importance of aligning your core values throughout your organization, from the top to the bottom. What happens when one or more people on the leadership team fail to live these values in their work and life?

Values can be stated in simple terms, such as “honesty, integrity, or hard work.” Values can also be stated more specifically, like Apple’s: “We have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change.”

Wells Fargo has a stated value of “Ethics.” They say that “Honesty, trust, and integrity are essential for meeting the highest standards of corporate governance.”

When people at the top state one set of values and live by another, what inevitably ensues is disruption. You see more divisiveness, more anger, more resentment, more dishonesty, and a cascade of what I call “values disintegration.” This can negatively affect employee morale, sales, and profits.

When the senior leadership fails to live their stated values, values disintegration permeates all levels of the organization. You may also see this happen in a single department or a single manager, resulting in a dysfunctional department. Finally, you can witness the impact of one person on a team or group when that person talks, but doesn’t walk the core values.

In your next senior leadership meeting, see what happens when you have every leader rate every other leader in how well they exhibit your core values. Give each person a “plus”, “plus/minus“, or “minus“ for each value, where a plus means they exhibit that value most of the time, a plus-minus means 50/50, and a minus means they don’t exhibit that value most of the time.


Get the Vision/Traction Organizer™ from EOS Worldwide and answer the first question. Then, have each member of your leadership team rate each other. You'll know when one of your defined values isn't shared by all.

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