Shared Values: The Secret Sauce That Binds Teams

Teamwork is a great thing. But it’s not the thing that makes teams great. Being a team comes from so much more than the idea of working together simply because you are in the same company, go to the same office, or work on the same project. Great teams come from companies that are bound together by more than financial goals or physical proximity. The best teams tend to be extremely diverse in many ways, but there is still something that is common between team members: values.

Values are an often misunderstood but vitally important part of a company’s culture. Shared values have the ability to keep the opposite ends of the culture spectrum together by prioritizing a certain set of behaviors or ideals. It sounds easy enough – create or formalize some core values and display them on your office wall and you’re set, right? Wrong. Core values, while extremely useful and powerful when enforced and prioritized can be meaningless or even poisonous if not properly attended to.

Imagine your company has a core value of timeliness, yet your boss, and maybe even the CEO makes it a habit of constantly showing up late. It may sound like a minor issue, only an annoyance even; but now consider the same situation, but remember you have a set of individuals that pride themselves on being on time. After a while, this minor annoyance can become a bitter taste, creating cynicism in the team that grows and taints the entire team’s culture. As business management author Patrick M. Lencioni warns in his article on making values meaningful, “If you’re not willing to accept the pain real values incur, don’t bother going to the trouble of formulating a values statement.”

When team values are meaningless, they might as well be nonexistent. However, when they are strong, they can breed a culture that thrives and is self-perpetuating. How does this happen? By inculcating the values in all aspects of the company – not just on the wall of the meeting room, but by weaving these important cultural norms into everything – from hiring to firing to client selection and office design. Once these values are truly valued by all, then you have a recipe for a nourishing company culture.

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Of course, we at FocusU could not tout these idealist visions if we weren’t taking special care to cultivate our own culture. We believe that our people are our most valuable assets, and as such it’s important we all have common ground between us and that comes by way of our credo, our Focus way of life. Our interests bring us together, but our values keep us together and make us strong.

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If you’re looking to roll out new values of your own or are interested in realigning your team to your existing values, let us know and we would be happy to customize a fun and interactive session for your team today!

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