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The Value of Values

Updated: Jan 10, 2023

How company values can turn detrimental if not handled with care and what we can do to tigger their benefits.

What role have company values played in your experience so far? Have they been a game changer? Do you trust your company's value code?

Expectations & Reality

We increasingly choose companies to work for, buy from or to stick to based on what they do and what they stand for. Ideally, these two elements are #consistent enough for us to develop #trust and to feel #safe in our choices.

In the beginning, the choice is based on #associations and perceptions shaped by the information available to us. In this phase, we develop an idea, or even an expectation.

Once inside, the choice is tested by reality.

Once inside, the choice is tested by reality: the way things work behind the scenes, the unspoken rules, how people treat each other, the actual language used, etc. If what we see and experience is not in line with our expectations, soon enough we have another choice to make: either, we adjust our expectations and adapt to reality, or we leave. After all, a mismatch between expectations and reality for too long can lead to depression.

Take it or leave it - as simple as that?

To stay or to leave is a challenging decision when weighing up the pro’s and con’s. Preceded by a jungle of thoughts, on a quest for the answers, we ask ourselves; is it me or is it the company? Perhaps I have not taken the whole picture into account? Maybe the things I’ve experienced are an exception? Maybe not? Could I afford to leave? And then?

This tricky scenario, whether already experienced or just imagined after reading the introduction, confronts us with ourselves and points out the things most important to us. In case we are, how far are we willing to go? And why? Should we cross our boundaries and adapt, or not. To be or not to be? How integer are we? Can we, or do we, want to be with ourselves in this context?

The answers to these questions guide us to our inner core

We soon realise that the answers to our questions guide us to our inner core. Our values and beliefs are strongly influenced by our context, scope and perspective. Our decisions will probably differ in a private vs a professional context, especially when others involved are impacted. The underlying values and beliefs such as freedom vs security or certainty vs uncertainty, are strong indicators of our preferences and tolerance levels in certain contexts’ and scenarios.

The value of values

Values and beliefs are a key element in this bigger complex. Just like we choose the companies we want to work for based on our value belief system, the companies choose us by clarifying theirs too. If done ‘right’, values can act as an integral catalyst for wellbeing through appropriate alignment, enabling flow, increasing motivation and improving overall performance.

Consistency is key so better not to claim anything we are not willing to be

If both sides manage to increase awareness of their core and be realistic about it (remember: consistency is key so better not to claim anything we are not willing to be) we can better anticipate upon a match, and facilitate our choices between staying or leaving once experiencing cultural reality.

Values done 'right'

Company values deserve the spotlight. They act as a frame of reference, enabling essential decision making, and can be treated as a personal and organisational inner compass.

Here are three tips to keep in mind when starting to (re-) think company values:

  1. Company values are better to be 'company real'. Inconsistencies in values both desired vs real without correct transformation and communication efforts can backfire significantly. This will bring deep damage to trust and reputation.

  2. We can increase substantial purpose if the values are accompanied by a strong and supported vision. Consider it an intention or an aspiration worth striving for.

  3. Invite your people to co-design or to challenge the value code. Your people are or are expected to be living the code hence there is no way around including them in the process.

Value identification with Sparks

As part of the values driven journey and in context of the bigger picture, which we wrapped up in our Contextscanner©, we offer Value Identification and Visioning sessions.

For you, your team or your organisation.

Whether it is for an improved understanding of the choices you make (collectively), for a more conscious projection of your personal, team or organisation values, our value identification and visioning session will help make sense of the deeper layer of your entity and initiatives to increase meaning and connection going forward.

We have plenty of more thoughts regarding the value of company values available here. Feel free to drop a comment or to connect to learn more.

Best wishes,


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