When values really matter…
Most organisations have a set of published values; some even work according to them! The organisation’s shared values (when aligned with those of the individual employees) enable everyone to work together to deliver results according to the priorities the organisation is working to. Values are the philosophies or principles describing what is important to an organisation, that guide its internal conduct and its working relationships with customers, partners and stakeholders.
And we know that when values are the benchmark for everything the organisation does, from top to bottom, employee engagement levels will be higher than where the published values are simply ignored.
In effect, it is their values that enable an organisation’s leaders to decide what they will do, and what they won’t; this is always important, but especially when an organisation is asked to behave in a way that contradicts the values.
The Football Association beautifully illustrated this this week. FIFA has decreed that the England and Scotland national teams are not be permitted to wear poppies during their forthcoming World Cup qualifying match, which takes place on Armistice Day. The decision was widely condemned, with the Prime Minister describing it as ‘outrageous’ and many commentators commenting on the absurdity of the ruling. In case you missed it, it’s because FIFA, World football’s governing body, prohibits political, religious or commercial messages on players’ shirts.
The FA and the SFA also took a dim view of the decision, and have both decided that their players will defy the ban. It’s not a belligerent decision; it is a decision made because the FIFA ban prevented them from living by their values – in this case, showing gratitude and respect to those who have died in the war (and subsequent conflicts) and thus also honouring the families of those have lost loved ones in the defence of their country.
There will be certainly be consequences applied – FIFA general secretary Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura has said “any kind of sanction” could follow. But to the FA and SFA this isn’t the most important thing; what matters most is that they – and therefore their players – are allowed to live by their values.
Yes, clear organisational values, which are actually lived out in practice, really do matter.