As George Bernard Shaw famously said of company values ‘fuck this shit’. Okay he didn’t actually say that but if he had to walk past a poster every day that said Honesty, Integrity, Teamwork or Innovation, I can pretty much guarantee he would have.

Values can act as the bedrock for an organisation offering clear direction on how the business behaves, but there are two important caveats that can’t be ignored.

The first is that if you want your values to be taken seriously, you need to take them seriously enough to choose values that are unique to you. Another set of generic McValues screams we couldn’t really give a shit and if you can’t, then don’t expect your employees to either.

The next is that heads must roll. I’ve seen employees at every level openly flout the values of an organisation and nothing happens. When that happens, your values become a joke not worth the wall space they take up. When you write your values, spend some time agreeing on the consequences of not towing the values line.

Values – first makes them mean something, then make them mean something.

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