The importance of values

A value is something we find valuable, an ideal we strive for. Values can be precisely defined, linked to behaviours and competencies and can hereby be measured (Hall, B.P., 2000)

Values systems

Values drive attitudes and actions, and are strongly influencing relationships, collaboration and leadership. In ideal conditions, people act according to their values. In sick conditions, people are not able to act on their values, resulting in dysfunctional organisation and frustrated people.

There are more than 100 values defined by different researchers. Each person normally act on 8-10 of them, defined as their set of personal values. The personal values priorities are the results of the unclear mix of heritage, experience, life situation and future dreams and ambitions.

When people work in a team, the sum of values from all people in the team are up for an unconscious voting. The values that get most prioritised, shared by most and put into action in a team, define the team culture.

The top prioritised values give specific information about a team or an organisation. Which values they prioritise indicate what actions they are likely to take. Insight about top values provides a unique and unbiased description of the existing culture.

Common for all values systems are the insight that values can be organised in a values system of stages, like a “values periodic system”. Values are also developmental, related to Mazlow’s hierarchy of needs, and people develop to more visionary stages through experience and healthy relationships.

There are many stages of human development. In Culture Intelligence we have defined seven.  Each stage defines a set of values characteristic about the culture that operates from this particular mindset. Knowing more about the mindset of the culture will increase business predictability, clarify development opportunities and needs.


Further reading

Research has documented that consciousness of own personal values as well as insight in values of own team culture is less than 20%. This means that the values that drive your key actions, relationships and attitudes are known in one out of five. Increasing the awareness of personal values will increase consciousness of personal and team attitudes and actions.