Over the years, my colleagues and I have spent considerable energy and time helping leaders create an aligned culture by clarifying their organizational values. We lead off-site retreats, creating corporate value statements and developing processes for getting those values into the hearts of their employees. But this is not what inspires commitment and engagement.
It’s personal values that matter most when it comes to employee engagement. People don’t put their hearts into anything until they believe in it. Clarity of personal values is the force that makes the difference in an individual’s level of commitment to an organization. Think about your own experience. When, in your career, were you most engaged? Was it when you were clear about the values of the organization you worked for, or when you were clear about your own personal values?
If you are committed to engage people with their hearts, clarifying organizational values is a waste of time unless you get to what matters to them as a person.
In retreats and workshops, I now focus more on helping leaders clarify their employee’s personal values than on clarifying organizational values. While both are important, you have to get to people’s personal values if you want to get to what engages them. Commitment is a matter of alignment between personal and organizational values. You have to get to both sides of the equation.