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For Business
December 19, 2013

Are your values a team builder or a team breaker?

But values are a vital part of building a great team. They have an impact on the emotional connection that the team feels to the company, and one another too. But if you get them wrong, the consequences can be serious.

Why? Well, they help to set the tone and tell you a lot about why the team is really doing things, and also for the standards and ideals that their work should live up to.

If you’re part of a team where you don’t feel a connection with the values, it can be disheartening and you can start to feel a little lost in your work.

Four ways to make sure your values stick

So how can you come up with a great set of values that are a team builder, not a team breaker? Here are four rules to help you come up with a set of values that really stick and make a difference:

  1. Your team must understand them – the members need to know what the values and goals are, and really understand them. They should be familiar enough to stay at the forefront of their minds, and each person should also be able to explain them to others with confidence.
  2. Your team must feel invested in them – the members need to feel that they are included in collaborative experiences, have a part to play in upholding the values and reaching the goals, and be confident that have something to gain from them.
  3. Your team must think they’re achievable – your goals and values need to feel realistic and attainable, or they will fall by the wayside and become a source of frustration.
  4. Your team must be able to measure them – there should be a framework by which you can measure how you well you are living up to your values and how you are progressing towards your goals.

It’s also important to make sure that once you have your values, they stay at the front of everyone’s minds.

You could try putting up posters around the office as reminder of your values. Alternatively, your team could focus on a different value each month, and make extra efforts to think about how to live up to that value, taking those ideas forward and making them habits at the end of the month.

Technology can support you in this too – why not add tasks and reminders relating to your values to a project management app like Camper to make sure they stay prominent?

At Nokia four core values guide us in our everyday work. They are:

  1. Make it great for the customer – everyone in Nokia has a role to play in making it great for our customers. This involves listening and understanding before making the decisions that will provide a great customer experience.
  2. Challenge and innovate – Challenging the status quo is a prerequisite for change and innovation. This is about not accepting “what is”, but being curious and striving for “what could be”.
  3. Achieve together – Results matter, and we achieve more when we work together. This is about everyone at Nokia taking responsibility for achieving and collaborating across organizational or geographic boundaries to win.
  4. Act with empathy and integrity – Empathy and integrity are our guides for dealing with our customers and each other. It’s about us being honest, transparent and doing the right thing. We inspire trust by speaking frankly and having the courage to call things out on what matters.

These values, work for us, but because every company is different, every company needs its own. What are the values in your team? Would you change them if you had the opportunity?

If you’d like to read more about team flow, why not download our free Teams That Flow ebook?

Image credit: wetwebwork