On my way back to Oslo from Amsterdam last week, I had a conversation with a colleague about company values. How they are formed, what they actually are, if they are stated or not. He asked me what company values where important to me. It made me think, since I – like most people, I would guess – have a built-in sense if I appreciate the company values in my own company or companies that I relate to.
My immediate answer was, «I have to work in a company that has basic integrity around their business». «Well, what kind of value is integrity?», he asked.
And he was right. Integrity relates to the values you define. It’s about consistency. Being intrinsically true to the values you have expressed for yourself, or the company. One of the opposites of integrity is hypocrisy. Not a very flattering description to be linked to (and we are all often at risk, I must admit). Being hypocritical is all about not living up to the standards you are expressing and expecting of yourself and others. And again: this unfortunately is something I often see in businesses on a company level. A company can have defined values, but either you don’t notice them as an integrated part of the culture, or you observe managers who outlive the opposite values than are expressed.
So this whole conversation with my colleague resulted in analyzing what specific company values are important for me, and what companies I observe that live up to the standards they are proposing.
One company that has a set of values I can relate to, is Atlassian in Australia. This is a software company creating products that we currently use in our business, so my experience with them is as a customer buying their products, and getting support when needed. I’ll need to ask the employees wether they actually live all their values as stated or not. But for all the parts that relate to customers, I can confirm that integrity is intact.
Their values (and keep in mind that language can be a bit rough-edged in this part of the world):
- Open company, no bullshit
- Build with heart and balance
- Don’t #@!% the customer
- Play, as a team
- Be the change you seek
I love them. Down-to-earth and so essential.
What company values does your business express, and is integrity observed?