The value...of values | Collective Next

The value…of values

Study after study find that most leaders believe that a strong, healthy company culture increases their companies’ value and performance. Those same studies also find that far fewer leaders actually prioritize creating a healthy culture, or really even know where they should begin.

Every organization’s culture is informed by a multitude of elements—some of them are obvious, and some of them are almost undetectably subtle. And many of these elements are deeply ingrained into the fabric of our workplaces, making them maddeningly tricky to tease out and evaluate.

But like with any seemingly intractable problem, we can always begin with the elements that are in our control. And fortunately, one of the most important factors that directly impact an organization’s culture is very much in our control: our values.

What’s important to us as an organization? How do we want to work together? What are the principles and behaviors that we want to foster to do our best work, and to be proud of what we accomplish? Identifying these values is the first and most critical step towards cultivating the culture we desire.

How does CN think about organizational values?

Values, like culture, can seem slippery and abstract at first glance. They are tethered to things like behavior and mindsets, things that aren’t easily measured on a spreadsheet. But at CN, we think of values and the evaluation of values as a discrete, critical aspect of any organization’s success. And we think about values in very simple terms: values inform how you act. And how you act directly shapes your results.

In practical terms, the people who make up organizations have to make countless decisions every day. Our values guide those decisions. We make one choice and avoid another based on the values that are important to us. We might lose sight of our values sometimes and make choices out of expediency, but when we do act in accordance with our values, we have better results and feel better about the effort.

The work begins, then, with an evaluation of what those values should be. What kind of behavior do we want to cultivate at our organization? What values are important to us, given the unique work that we do and the history of our team? How do we identify those values in others?

There are any number of approaches and solutions that can help sharpen this aspect of organizational culture. And the good news is that while the outcomes are worth the effort, the exercise of considering and interrogating your organization’s values will reveal things about your culture that you might never have been aware of.


Values development
The best place to start is to bring your team together. Identify a select group of cross-functional leaders at your organization to take part in a collaborative workshop focused on identifying and articulating the right values for your team.

Values rollout
Once you’ve defined and refined a set of values, the next step is bringing them to life for your people, sharing them with the rest of your organization. And there are countless approaches to spreading the word and educating your team, from messaging frameworks and playbooks, to interactive learning maps, to animated explainer videos. The medium, however, is secondary. If you want a healthy, intentional culture that contributes to the success of your organization start with your values and spread the word.

What’s next?

We’d love to hear about how you’re thinking about values at your organization. What have you found that’s worked well? And what kind of efforts landed with a thud? Reach out to us today and let’s find some time to chat. 

Immersive Web Experiences / Alexion Culture Transformation Story

This external facing website is designed to showcase the culture transformation that Alexion underwent since 2017. The site utilizes an innovative scroll-based animation design, and also featured a cross-team effort that included creative, production, and digital teams.