The Definition Game

By    Jul 10, 2015
CC Bindaas Madhavi via Flickr

CC Bindaas Madhavi via Flickr

As leaders of organizations, it is essential that we not only uphold the values of our organizations, but also believe in them.

Sandra Cha, an assistant professor at McGill University, and Amy Edmondson, of Harvard Business School conducted and in-depth survey of organizational values at an up and coming advertising agency. The result: employees felt the CEO was acting hypocritically through his actions even though he talked the talk of organizational core values. This view essentially resulted in the employee’s variance of interpretation on what the organizational values actually meant. Cha and Edmonson call this “values expansion.”

As leaders, how do we ensure we articulate values clearly to staff? How do we understand the ways our employees define the organization’s values? It’s a conversation. As employees, if this conversation isn’t taking place, how do you make your perspective of these values heard by leadership?