The Value of Values

Originally posted December 2013

My daughter’s primary school had its OFSTED inspection a few months ago and came out of it very well. What was particularly heartening from my perspective was not only that it was hitting good academic standards but that it achieved “outstanding” comments for issues such as pupil behaviour, cooperation and respect for others. There’s nothing particularly special about the school – it’s in what could be described as “working class” district of Liverpool and draws a significant number of pupils from socially deprived inner city areas.

But what is interesting, reading the OFSTED report, is the way it’s run.

  • Its whole ethos is based on a set of values (faith based ones in this particular case, but the important point is that it has values)
  • The school is led by a headteacher who ensures that targets and objectives are based in the context of those values
  • Teachers work within the values, set stretching but achievable targets and lead by example
  • Consequently pupils enjoy school, are interested in what’s going on and promote the culture themselves
  • And finally, as a relatively small school, communication is easier and there is less chance of individuals being “missed” or isolated.

So let’s try a bit of substitution. Change the words headteacher, teachers and pupils to Managing Director (or business owner), managers and employees. Sounds to me that it’s a successful recipe for building a sustainable and profitable business, with engaged and motivated employees. And it seems that smaller businesses may be more able to do this than larger ones – something which is also the subject of my contribution to the recent book of HR blogs “Humane, Resourced”.

If you want your business to be successful, then the question isn’t “why should we bother with values” – it’s “why don’t we have – and act on them – already?”

 

Edit: You might also enjoy this blog from HR blogger Helen Tracey on the same theme:

Are Values Valuable?

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