Thursday, 17 September 2009

Values and mojos


Mojo_X-Men_ep-24 I wrote in my last but one post that I’d follow up on my review of Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s description of Procter & Gamble’s value-led strategy with some more notes on the role of values in supporting organisational mojo.

Firstly, I should explain that I’m not generally a fan of organisational values (see this post).

This may surprise you?

After all, I post fairly regularly on the need for organisations to be clear about how they’re going to operate (their mojo) and then to compete on the way that they’ve structured themselves around this (their organisational capabilities).

I just find it difficult to feel positively about the role of values in supporting mojo and organisational capability.

This is partly about my own experience.  None of the best change processes I’ve been involved in – as an employee, a line manager, an HR Director or a consultant – have involved them.  And some of the very superficial and ineffective change exercises that I’ve been involved in (not, I hasten to say, as a change leader) have placed a new set of values at the very centre of the change.

I also don’t like the idea that people should be asked to change their own values to fit with an organisations.  Again, this perspective comes largely from my own introspection and the fact that I’ve never really changed my own values to fit with an organisation’s – at least not as a result of any intentional strategy of, and deliberate actions taken by, an organisation.

However, I do recognise the benefit of values within recruitment – to ensure that people are only recruited when they have the values that the organisation wants them to exhibit.

In addition, I have changed my values when I’ve seen the benefits of, and been engaged by, an organisation’s values.  That is, they’ve not asked me to change my values – but I’ve been personally compelled to do so.

Of course, I’d argue that what really compelled me to change was the organisation’s mojo, its organisational capabilities and its culture – not it’s values.  But I suppose values can have a role in helping to articulate what the organisation’s mojo / capabilities / culture are about.  This is going to help organisational leaders, and employees, ensure that their actions are aligned with their mojo, and as long as this is the way that values are used, then doing this is only going to help.

In my next couple of posts, I’m going to look at some case studies that may shine some further light on this…



Image: Mojo in an episode of the X-Men animated series

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