A criticism levelled at companies, often by their own people, is that value statements, visions, and the like, sound like every other company on the block. That nothing really differentiates them. It’s a fair criticism on one hand, and maybe not so fair on the other. Often it’s just in how they’re written that makes them sound so similar, but when you sit and talk to those involved in drawing them up, and fuller picture emerges. One might then ask why they didn’t write them the way they meant them to sound in the first place? Perhaps it’s been a lack of creativity, or a lack of courage to write them the way they’d like them to sound. Certainly one of the faults has been that many companies have modelled them on books and consultants who have given a template that’s pretty bland to start with. Instead of taking the template and completely customising, they’ve simply infused their thoughts, ideals and dreams into the bland template. The result has been a set of values, visions, missions, etc that all look the same? (am I being unfair?)
This week I came across a set of ‘Philosophies and Values’ written the way they were meant to sound.The impact on me, an outsider, was immediate. High impact that left no doubt that this was a group of people who’d spent the time and energy to ensure that whoever read them would very quickly see that this group of people meant business.Investec logo
The company is Investec, and you can see a list of their values and philosophies here (click here)
Words and phrases like, ‘demand cast-iron integrity’, ‘break china for the client’, show concern for people’, thrive on change’, etc, etc This, in my opinion, is how most companies, or groups of people would like what they stand for to sound. It’s how I hope the people I work with verbalise what it is we’re committed to (watch our space www.tomorrowtoday.biz). Certainly there is a correlation between Investec’s results and performance and their description of their commitment. Not just empty words put on a web site because you’re supposed to.
So what comes first? Performance and results, or putting your passion and commitment on the table and then going after it?

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