5 reasons they might change
Theoretically, values are the ideals a company will stick to, no matter what, even if it’s extremely stressful or expensive. And although we hope our values are for the long term, they’re not necessarily carved in stone. There are milestones or situations in your company’s growth that might prompt you to take a fresh look at the values and possibly to update or evolve the language. Here are a handful of times that may make sense:
When you have a change in leadership
A new CEO or executive team in the C-suite will often introduce a new vision, and you may want new values to support that vision. At Tribe, we think of vision as where you’re going, business strategies are how you’ll get there — and values will guide everyone in the company in their actions and decision-making. The existing values may not feel relevant to the new vision.
When you have a company transformation
Market changes or world events — like a pandemic or recession, for instance — can create disruptions to business that prompt dramatic transformations of the company’s business model or go-to-market strategies. That sort of major change will often benefit from some cultural change as well, and values are one of the ways we define the expectations of our culture.
When you have an acquisition or merger
Whenever you bring two or more companies together, you’re marrying two cultures as well. Even if the acquiring company’s culture will prevail, it shows respect to the acquisition to incorporate some of their culture. That might mean showing the overlap in both companies’ values or maybe adopting one of the values of the acquisition. Or, creating a whole new set of values.
When you have a major failure
Values are intended to guide a company through a crisis, but if the crisis involves some sort of corporate scandal or leadership breakdown, you might need to build new guardrails for behavior at the company. New values and a new vision can help create a new starting line for how the company will be guided from here, as leadership works to reestablish trust and credibility.
When nobody remembers them anyway
Maybe you introduced values years ago, and you can still find a few values posters on breakroom walls or an old brochure explaining them. But if employees don’t actually use those values — or even recall what they are — then the values aren’t serving their purpose of guiding the day-to-day behavior of your people. That’s a very good reason to introduce a new set of values.