Corporate culture is a topic that receives a lot of buzz. In part, that’s because it is the foundation that defines and drives the business. It emanates from the values the company holds dear. Also, it is manifested in the attitudes and behaviors exhibited by all leaders, managers and employees. So the question is, how well-defined are your company’s values and how do they translate to the corporate brand?
In his work on ethical behavior, Michael Josephson created the model, “Character Counts,” where he identifies six values. They include trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. Although these pillars were not established with corporate culture in mind, they may be helpful when evaluating and defining an organization’s shared values.
Trustworthiness: At its core, trustworthiness means doing what you say you’re going to do. It involves integrity, reliability, dependability, follow-up and follow through.
Respect: The Golden Rule is a good example of respect. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It involves being a good listener, accepting the ideas of others, fostering collaboration and exhibiting professionalism.
Responsibility: Responsibility means living and acting according to the mutual agreements that have been set forth and defined by personal relationships and corporate expectations. In other words, it means doing what you’re supposed to do. When employees are responsible, they strive for excellence, continuous improvement, innovation, creativity and resourcefulness.
Fairness: Fairness encompasses creating a win-win scenario, where all parties involved in a discussion or transaction come away with the belief they were listened to, respected, and treated equitably. When people behave in this manner, they do not take advantage of others, nor do they seek to place blame for mistakes, errors or failures.
Caring: Much more difficult to define, caring involves a sense of empathy and desire to help. It means being committed to solving problems, addressing challenges and making a positive difference in the lives of others.
Citizenship: This value goes beyond the walls of the corporation and demonstrates the company’s commitment to serve society. It includes community involvement, philanthropy, participation in the political process, environmental protection, world peace, elimination of hunger and disease, and the support of the principles put forth in the Constitution.
Define Your Company’s Values
There are many other ethical principles a company can have based on physical, organizational and psychological values. What’s important is to identify them, communicate them and put them into practice in order to achieve the support, loyalty, engagement and brand consistency a company seeks.