When Do Your Values Lead the Way?
A Goldman Sachs executive director resigns, calling the company’s current culture “toxic and destructive.” A United States Senator announces her resignation, saying that the Senate “is not living up to its billing…and routinely jettisons regular order.”
These surprising and very public assertions are the result of one thing: Both institutions purport to embrace a particular set of values while simultaneously allowing destructive habits to take hold—a tell-tale sign that an organization has lost sight of its higher purpose. To be sure, living up to any higher purpose can be difficult and may even seem trivial at times. And while they may not be so public about it, there’s a good chance that many people in your organization feel like Greg Smith from Goldman Sachs or Olympia Snowe of the US Senate. That’s why it’s essential to continually assess whether you and your team are working—in action and in deed—toward the company’s true north.
What Great Leaders Know
Great leaders know that moments may arise when they have to take a stand for their values or give voice to the greater good, even if taking that stand requires a significant personal or professional sacrifice. Though it can be difficult, especially within large organizations, to see the impact of this stand individually, great leaders know that leading by example can have an impact larger than what is visible. It sends a message that regardless of your position, you can ensure that you and your team are adhering to your collective values.
What Message Will You Send?
It’s difficult to know when you’ll be confronted with a situation that challenges your core values. In today’s fast-moving and interconnected world, it’s important to always act in ways consistent with advancing social goals. If you manage to do that, you’ll be making your organization—and the world—a better place.
- How does our mission translate across the organization?
- What symbolic acts have I taken to reinforce our mission?
- Do I “walk the talk” when it come to the company’s values?
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|WANT TO KNOW MORE?|
READ a complimentary Healthy Companies Classic, Champion Your Mission and Values with Art Collins, former CEO, Medtronic.
|“The most important statistic in our company is that ‘every six seconds someone somewhere in the world is either alive or living a fuller life because of a Medtronic product.’ Now, employees get really excited about that.”|
— Art Collins
former CEO, Medtronic