Advertising Values or "Living our Values" Can We Tell the Difference anymore?

by Janice Giannini

With a deep mastering at the intersection of IT and business strategy, consultant, board adviser and former C-suite executive, Janice has been harnessing the true power of IT for more than 30 years. An Executive and Board-level digital strategist at the intersection of risk and IT, she enhances competitive position through vision and equity with large-scale risk identification, quantification and mitigation in an ever-changing marketplace, generating long-term value for clients. She engages with senior executives and teams, particularly in complex businesses where misalignment is blocking their desired success, to develop and execute practical business strategies and plans. Clients have found her especially helpful when they recognize they must integrate an eagle's eye and worm's eye view in order to identify and remove obstacles. Janice has consistently taken on those challenges that others chose to run from. This typically involves those challenging times when failure is not an option and integrating business, technology and people changes must be accomplished simultaneously. As a result, many of her clients are complex organizations who won't settle for anything less than developing widespread professional competence.

There are many books, videos and CD's today about Executive Leadership; what it is, how to do it. One of the common themes in most of them is a conversation about values. The principle role of leadership of any group be it government organization, company, department or work team is to set the core values that drive the team.

If asked the direct question, "what are your core values?", many, if not all leaders would recite the company's value statement that hangs on the wall or in some cases is printed on a card they carry in their pocket.

The question is no longer can we read it and remember it. We have succeeded with that necessary first step. The question at this point is, "Are we living them?" Do we have "advertising values" or do "we have values we live". If you take a look around you today, does that question cross your mind?

Ask yourself

  • If your mother/son/daughter/person whose opinion matters greatly to you knew in detail what you was doing would you be proud?
  • If not, why not? If you don't know the answer to that question, should you?
  • What is it you just as soon not talk about?
  • How often do people in your company clam up when you walk in a room? Is it really because of your title or because they are uncomfortable? If so why?
  • When you walk through the hallways, do you make genuine eye contact or avoid it? Why are you afraid to look people in the eye?

I attend many business events annually. You can tell by observing the executives who live their values and are comfortable in their skin and those who are not living their values. If you are not living your values, what do you suppose the ripple effect is and what opportunity cost is there across your business?

Responses from a few leaders:

  • Leaders lose respect
  • People may become less committed to doing their job well
  • When times get tough, good folks bail
  • Afflicts the entire company operation
  • People become cynical about company stability or they develop a don't care attitude and are only interested in "what's in it for me?"

The average human being uses perhaps 5 to 10 percent of their ability. Research indicates that less than one third of all workers are actively engaged in the business. What are you doing about the other 70 percent or so? A place to start? Perhaps, look in the mirror?

As always, we are here to help you get the results you both want and need to achieve. No matter how busy we get, we will always make the time to help you and the people you care about. You just have to ask us.