Values are on the rise. At least in many discussions and contributions, which can currently be heard and read. Inspiring thoughts can be heard from various different sides. They motivate you to deal with reasons that have long remained in the background. What is good, what is honourable, what is tolerant?
Companies also have a self-understanding and a value system that has to be defined and then lived by. However, particularly the implementation is often more complicated than you think.
Suppose a company by no means wished to collide with valid compliance legislation. Thus, gifts should be rejected, employees are examined for conflicts of interest, and much more. However, what if this company does business in a country where nothing works without “backhanders” to middlemen? What now? If the company is obliged by company values such as honesty and transparency, it should also obey the rules of honest business conduct. Even if that then means that hardly any business is done. However, a formulation like “we obey all the rules that are legally binding” stands for the self-understanding according to which everything is permitted, as long as it is not explicitly legally forbidden.
Often the rules that are to be followed are set out in the Code of Conduct. Some of these rules and regulations convey what NOT to do. While others say clearly how you should behave.
Corporate culture lives by its own values
The same applies for corporate culture. For it, the question of “how do we live by our values?” must be clearly thought through. And it has to be considered how these values can be implemented in everyday working life. To define good values and to make them a part of corporate culture through a “this is how we interact with one another” document is very complex. And one’s own credibility can be very quickly undermined, if you fail to consider everything in the definition and communicate it accordingly.
Fields of study such as business ethics have emerged to support companies in the process of identity formation. In today’s world, where technology and machines are more and more present, the human aspect is coming more to the fore. Thus, this year’s Future Day at the Future Institute had the theme: A new sense of the future. Emotion is on the rise – and is reflected in the culture of living values.
This is where it’s all about being authentic and deciding what the company stands for and what not. Do the decision-makers agree that certain values within the company and in dealing with employees are to be lived by, which in plain language means that you want to live by these values in exactly that way? That is why values should always be precisely formulated. How, for example, does a company actually embody customer focus? By satisfying all customer desires, no matter how crazy and expensive? Or by ensuring that it is always the best-possible expert for its customers? If values are clearly described and can be recognized in the living culture, the company has an impressive personality – also for its customers. Thus: A win-win situation!