Values and behaviours

It can be very valuable for an organisation, nonprofit or commercial, to have an explicit set of values or principles. It's one way of being very clear about what you believe, what you consider as important and what you want to guide your culture and how your people behave. Here's an excellent example I came across.

It's an organisation in the health field (a hospital) which has chosen 5 values. Then they created a short list of behaviours under each of these values, written in clear and simple English (ah, my favourite kind).

The list shows the positive (here are the behaviours we think illustrate this value in action) and also the negative (here are behaviours contrary to the value, which we don't want around here).

Here's an example.

The value: Integrity by being open honest and fair.

The expected/encouraged behaviours are:

And the illustrated unacceptable ones:

Do you see what I mean about them being really clear?  

There used to be a full set published on their website, but they seem to have moved it somewhere else. It was nicely presented as colour *.PDF files. Oh, and they give every employee (paid staff and their many unpaid volunteers) a nifty little pocket/purse-sized one printed copy, too. I was impressed.

PS Don't even bother with values unless you believe in them, and will use them.  Not just write them, but will also live by them and apply them, especially when making tough calls. If they're just one more bit of pretty wallpaper, or only convenient when it suits you, they're even worth than useless.  

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