This book explains what values are, how they work and why they matter to us, as humans. When our values are mismatched with others, co-workers or other people in our lives, it generations conflict. This book explains the different sources of conflict that can arise in the workplace, due to different values. It also explains how to identify both your own personal values and those of a company.
Targeted Age Group:: 18+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I've always loved reading and writing. I had moved into a role with less writing and felt the urge to write so decided on writing a book. Having come across the idea of Values during my Executive Coaching course, I found it provided huge relief to me, as I could finally understand what was causing me conflict in the workplace. Having coached many people on their values, I found they got great relief too so decided that this was the book to write.
Enron was formed in 1985 through the merger of Houston Natural Gas and InterNorth, and its one-time mission statement was "to become the world's leading energy company" by upholding the values of:
During the following fifteen years, it went on to achieve this by growing from a non-entity to America's seventh-largest company, employing twenty-one thousand staff members in more than forty countries. In October 2001 the dream shattered as a culture of deceit, special purpose entities, and questionable accounting practices was uncovered, leading to its share price sinking like a lead balloon.
What happened? How did Enron's values of integrity, respect, and excellence let it down? Surely integrity would have guided it to do the right thing and correctly account for its assets? Or respect would have guided it to be respectful of the right of its customers, staff, and shareholders to know Enron's true financial position? Or that excellence meant it valued achieving tangible performance and not a paper trail of nothingness?
Clearly, there was a mismatch between Enron's corporate values and its actions. What caused this mismatch? Did the company as a whole really believe in these values or where they just optional aspirations that could be ignored? Did anybody believe in them or was it just the board, the chief executive officer (CEO), the chief financial officer (CFO) and the other four hundred employees that were let go in the aftermath that didn't buy into them? Were integrity, excellence, and respect just impressive-sounding words, proudly displayed on a wall plaque in the office foyer, gathering dust, while the real, unspoken company values were being actively upheld through actions and intentions?
More recently, what about the prevalent values that influenced and contributed to the global financial meltdown of 2008? In The Big Short, Michael Lewis describes that the culture of AIG Financial Products (AIG FP), a key player in the financial house of cards, became a dictatorship, whereby obedience and control were the required values. As Lewis tells it, anyone who questioned the boss, or his decisions was shot down and humiliated, eventually resulting in the desired behaviour and, on the face of it, adherence with the desired values.
The impact of actively having the values of obedience and control was that nobody effectively questioned the risks AIG FP was taking on or the price at which it was taking them on. During the upswing, AIG FP was posting great returns, which made everyone happy, but, when the downswing eventually took place, AIG nearly went to the wall, narrowing escaping Enron's fate.
Company values, personal values, team values – values are mentioned everywhere these days but what exactly are they and what, if anything, is so important about them?
Over the last six years, these and many other questions about values have cropped up during my work with business owners, executive teams, leaders, managers, and human resource professionals. These people have heard the words but often have many questions about what they are and how they work in practice, particularly in relation to company values. After all, how does an organisation go about aligning five, five hundred, or five thousand staff members to one set of core values?
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