ORGANIZATION VALUES: FOCUS IN PLAY
WRITTEN BY: JOEY NG
F.O.C.U.S in Play
By Joey Ng
- Organization Values: What is it?
There are many ways to define ‘Organization Values’. Most describe it as a kind of philosophy that drives success, the motivational force for performance.
- Why do companies have values?
In The Fifth Discipline, author Peter Senge states ‘Values describe how the company wants life to be on a day to day basis, while pursing the vision.’ Kouzes and Posner state in their book, The Leadership Challenge, ‘Values provide the common standard by which people could calibrate their decisions and actions.’ With a common standard, resources can be more effectively and efficiently aligned. Clear values allow team members to work independently and interdependently because decision making processes are guided by the same principle.
Values also serve as a point of reference to hire and promote. Research has shown that when personal values are congruent with the organization values, employee commitment is higher and they will find it easier to perform (more on this in 3.1). Organizations also use values to deliver consistency, be it in production or service. And values can be seemed as a form of brand promise to stakeholders.
- How are values used by leaders and the team?
Organizational values are used by leaders to lead, influence and set examples and members see organization values as the company’s expectation of them.
(Deviating from the title for a sentence: choosing the right personal value will define the leader’s character and personal values is one of the most powerful tools to lead, influence and set examples.)
Values build trust. The need for trust elevates when there is no direct control over each others work and it is through the subscription of shared values that team members trust everyone else is doing the right thing. Teams also use values to influence the way other members think and behave. Instead of dictating behaviors, team uses values to guide members towards the desired culture.
3.1. Are you at the right place?: Aligning personal values with organization values
Kouzes and Posner in their research found that when there is clarity between personal and organization values, people displayed the highest level of commitment. Have you ever had the feeling ‘This is not the right place for me?’
Values of an organization define the company culture. Values can be used as reference to measure how much one fits into the company’s culture. If the fit between personal and organization values are at loggerheads, perhaps a personal exit is best for all parties. Just imagine a square block trying to fit into a round hole. Probabilities will come with great deal of discomfort of all parties, square or round.
- F.O.C.U.S. at work
In comparison to the values of most companies, FOCUS’ is unique in many ways. Instead of the usuals (integrity, continuous improvement, customer excellence, teamwork), we have ‘Fun!’ How many ompanies list fun as a standard?
Most organizations subscribe to rather common values because they promote the right social ethics and morals. Generally, organizations center their values on these 3 themes:
1) Caring attitude (internal and external)
2) Performance standards
Examine closer and you will discover elements of these themes in F.O.C.U.S. F.O.C.U.S. is easy to understand and the ‘openness’ of each values allows stakeholders to interpret and more importantly, apply the values according to the context of the event. 4.1 describe possible application of the values for all stakeholders while 4.2 demonstrates how the values drive quality in a programme.
4.1. F.O.C.U.S. for everyone
Here are some other ways to look at FOCUS Adventure values beyond the official description and possible applications in our daily dealings. One will also notice how the values are interrelated with one another.
F.O.C.U.S for Everyone
The most fundamental understanding we need is the understanding of the objective. How
A higher level of understanding is the understanding of everything as
4.2. F.O.C.U.S. for facilitators
A teambuilding programme is a system comprises of many elements and several subsystems. One good energizer will not compensate the lack of dialogue opportunities between participants and a fantastic final activity will not make up for the facilitator’s low energy level. Instead, it is the synergy of the different elements and entities that will decide whether it is a teambuilding programme, or is it a FOCUS ADVENTURE TEAMBUILDING PROGRAMME!
With so many different pieces to attend to, running a quality programme is not easy, well, it should not be! Using F.O.C.U.S. as a guideline will at least lead the programme towards the right direction and also, ensure consistency no matter who is running the show.
F.O.C.U.S for Facilitators
Organizations values are created and designed to be purposeful and meaningful. The meanings will only be brought to life when they are implemented. In the mantra of ‘Open’, there is no fix way of utilizing F.O.C.U.S. How would apply your F.O.C.U.S today?
3. Senge, P.M., 2006. The Fifth Discipline: The arts & practice of the learning
organization. London: Random House Business Book
4. Kouzes, J.M. & Posner, B.Z., 2007. The Leadership Challenge. 4th ed. San
Fransico.:John Wiley & Sons.