Patagonia is well known for its values of sustainability and social responsibility. Why? Because everyone visits their website to read them? No – because they put them into action.
They use recycled and organic materials in their clothing. Donate 1% of their sales to environmental causes. Advocate policy change to address the climate crisis.
It’s not an easy task, though.
In this article, we’ll examine their role in decision-making and governance, before looking at some steps and strategies to succeed in putting values into action.
Role of Values in Decision-Making
Values are more than just fancy words on a wall or slogans in a handbook. They guide decision-making, acting as the compass on your business journey.
Embedding them into your culture, and sticking to them, will ensure your decisions align with your core principles. With what result? More informed and more sustainable choices that benefit the business long-term.
Importance in Governance and Stakeholder Relations
Your business values also play a pivotal role in governance and stakeholder relations. For family businesses, particularly, values provide the framework for sustainable governance. They act as a common language that unites stakeholders. They help to maintain harmony, transparency, and accountability within the family unit and, in turn, the business itself.
Steps and Strategies to Embed Values in Everyday Operations
Turning values into action takes time and commitment but it can be done. Here’s how:
Lead by Example
Leadership should exemplify the values in their daily conduct, setting the tone for the entire organization.
Training and Education
Educate employees about the values and their practical application. You can do this in a number of ways, such as:
- Training programs
- Conversations in staff meetings
- Initial onboarding of new employees
- Management development
Integrate Values into Performance Metrics
Encourage employees to integrate values in their day-to-day roles by rewarding them for doing so.
Feedback and Improvement
Patagonia define integrity this way: “We examine our practices openly and honestly, learn from our mistakes, and meet our commitments.”
So, ask for feedback from employees and stakeholders to see how well the values are being integrated and be open to making improvements if necessary.
Show clearly how your core values drive both the governance structure and decision-making process. Make both easily accessible to employees.
Stakeholder Engagement and Introspection
As well as looking introspectively for guiding principles, seek input from stakeholders too. Aligning your values with their strengths and passions will create a shared sense of purpose.
Get the Ball Rolling
I encourage businesses to start internal discussions about values today. Engage your team, family members, and stakeholders in conversations about the role of values in your business. If this is something you’re unsure about doing, feel free to contact me to see how I can help.