Live your values

An important part of strategic planning is defining your organization’s values. If you look, the values of many companies are external-facing – how they treat customers, how they provide products, how they deliver services. Their values demonstrate the quality of their offering and their approach to offering it. (In other words, their values communicate part of their value to customers.)

But an organization’s values are not just for marketing. While values certainly lay the foundation for how an organization delivers to its customers, those values should also dictate how they operate internally. After all, what you provide customers is a reflection of how you operate.

Values are the things you care about as an institution – your core beliefs and what you stand for. They lay the foundation for your organization’s culture and social norms – not just how you treat customers, but how you treat one another on a daily basis. They should guide your decisions for strategy and programs, as well as your day-to-day operations. They should set the tone for how your leaders and your employees behave. And they should help establish your organization’s personality and identity.

Your values determine your choices, and your choices reflect who you are. As Professor Dumbledore said in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” Who we are determines our choices, and what we value determines who we are.

When developing your organization’s values, consider how they would affect how your employees behave on a daily basis. Are you treating your customers differently than one another? Or do you truly apply your values to all aspects of your work? If you want to be your best for your customers, you should start by living your values within your organization.


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