Harvard business professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter, considered by many to be one of the 50 most powerful women in the world, recently posted a blog entry about the importance of directly addressing values in the boardroom: “In organizations that I call ‘supercorps’—companies that are innovative, profitable, and responsible—widespread dialogue about the interpretation and application of values enhances accountability, collaboration, and initiative”.
Dr. Kanter finds that when people share and discuss their deepest values in the business world, it strengthens the alignment of the entire group. Employees’ personal values become integrated with the company’s policy, and this helps to guide the ethical choices of the corporation. Discussing business values openly, Kanter argues, eliminates the need to impose impersonal and coercive rules.
The organization becomes a community united by shared purpose, which reinforces teamwork and collaboration. People can be more readily relied upon to do the right thing, and to guide their colleagues to do the same, once they buy into and internalize core principles. People can become more aware of the drivers and impact of their behavior.