Since day one PolyClean USA has committed itself to four basic principles: honesty, respect, progress and action. We are vested in these values and they manifest themselves in our work. It’s not enough to say you have values; you have to show you have values–but how?
While you must spend a little time thinking about your values to learn what they are, it’s not enough to simply ponder. They aren’t for settling down deep inside your mind and resting there. You must use them! Any person or business who has enough wisdom to recognize what their values are but does not behave in accordance with them is a hypocrite. Belief and action must be integrated.
Ok, then. Put plainly, how do I use them? There are two ways.
Day to day operations
The values laid out for a business will guide that operation’s daily functions. Take PolyClean for example. PolyClean has established for itself honesty as one of its main values. Figuring out how honesty plays a part in the day-to-day business is easy: be honest! Don’t lie to your co-workers. Don’t lie to the customers. Don’t lie to the accountants. Don’t lie to anyone.
The values of a business should be readily visible to anyone. If an outsider became a fly on the wall and watched employees’ interactions, the managing style of supervisors and the way that problems were processed, then that fly should know clearly what values are in place.
Occasionally the business of your business will produce situations that are decidedly outside of day-to-day operations. In times like these, practicing the company’s values can be difficult because humans have a tendency to look backwards when making decisions. Unfortunately, unusual circumstances can be harder to handle because there is not a precedent to look to. In times like these, the values are more important than ever.
Values almost exclusively guide the business’ response to circumstances that don’t normally arise, such as when an employee accuses another of stealing, harassment or shirking the workload. Other uncomfortable situations may include the termination of employee or existing business relationship. Though it isn’t pleasant, the business (and its employees) must not waiver on their values in situations such as these.
Benefit of sticking to your guns
Once a business establishes values for itself, it absolutely must abide by them. There are at least two good reasons for doing so.
It maintains order. Even though your employees may have generally respectable codes of conduct for themselves, they will differ from one another. Creating a standard unifies behavior and keeps problems from arising.
It preserves reputation. The public respects organizations that hold themselves to their principles. People don’t want to see businesses as machines with the solitary goal of earning a profit. They want businesses to resemble people–values and all.
If your business has values that are either unclear or poorly integrated, it is not to late to change the atmosphere. First, decide what you believe in. Chances are those beliefs will fit just fine with your business. Then, begin to implement them into at-work decisions. The results will impact the working atmosphere, your reputation in the public sphere and, likely, your bottom line. After all, there’s value in values.