Behavior influences social values, so if you care about how you act and follow rules of society (behavior) your social values will climb and others will see this as the norm and follow suit, just like today its the opposite, people are shortcutting the rules (no texting while driving, speeding, even smoking – you know it causes cancer and other diseases but you still smoke) and others follow along thinking its ok to do this because others do it.
Values can be incorporated into the beliefs-behaviors-consequences relationship. consequences can shape both beliefs and values, and it is true both beliefs and values lead to particular behaviors. The critical point for a leader to understand when attempting to change the culture of their organization, is that focusing on values is a much more powerful lever than simply focusing on beliefs.
One value – two entirely opposite behaviours.
Does this mean you should drop values to focus on behaviours? Not quite. Here are some of the reasons for using one or the other.
- Values are an essential part of culture and are needed to describe it at the deepest level – They are part of the BE level, along with feelings and beliefs.
- Values underpin behaviours – It is difficult to change behaviours without going to the BE level.
- Employees are used to discussing values because they have been part of the corporate landscape for many years. In fact, many organisations used to focus solely on values to shape their culture.
- Values are easy to express conceptually in one word.
- Values hierarchy is at the core of how we behave – the most common hierarchies sit behind the main cultural archetypes we use to describe culture at Walking the Talk.
- Behaviours are what makes culture do-able. They translate values into tangible, observable and measurable elements that can be implemented, assessed and improved.
- Because (as my earlier story shows) there can be many, sometimes opposite, behaviours for a single value, working with behaviours can avoid ambiguity.
- One behaviour, on the other hand, can represent several values.
- Behaviours are easy to observe, they are what people do – what we call the DO level. As a consequence, employees can easily self-correct.
- Behaviours make it easy to define standards – this, in turn, makes culture do-able.