(206) 686-4400 ext. 13

(206) 686-4400 ext. 13

Henley Leadership Group Blog

Being the Values of Your Organization


So often a company’s stated values don’t match reality. 

We give lip-service to the values, which means we don’t really live them.  We may read the values on a fancy plaque that hangs in the hallway, but we don’t see the leaders of the organization showing us what it really looks like to have integrity or accountability or even fulfillment. Or worse, leaders’ behaviors are in direct contradiction to the stated values. 

In our work towards conscious leadership, we distinguish something that we call “integrated ideals.”  It’s one thing to read your company’s values. It’s quite another to experience them demonstrated by words, actions and behaviors of the leaders of your organization in a way that is inspiring.  We learn from leaders with integrated ideals.  We want to follow them. 

 Let’s start by exploring the difference between “doing” and “being”.  “Doing” is often focused outward - on how we can impress people, accomplish tasks, or serve the needs of others. In doing mode, we have a list of things to get done that we think are important.  If we don’t do these things, we worry about consequences.  “If I don’t do it, no one will.”  So, we get stuff done and check the box.  The trouble is that the to-do list never ends.  The greater challenge for leaders is that there is really no box to check when it comes to organizational values.  For example, if integrity is one of your company values, how do you check a box for that?  This is where being comes in.

 Where “doing” is often future focused, “being” happens right now. You are a living example of integrity. Your words match your actions.  You keep promises you make. Let’s take another value and see how being comes into play, for example, fulfillment.  Being fulfilled means that people experience you as satisfied and content with your career and the choices you have made.  You are at peace with where you are and how you got here.  You speak positively about your contribution. 

 Go ahead. Write down your company’s values and give yourself a grade about how well you are being those values.  Then, consider what you might need to shift or change in yourself to be a living demonstration of the values. This is the true challenge of leadership.