Understanding the Visions and Values

The organisation’s role in vision and values

In the ideal situation:

  • The organisation fosters a positive work environment that encourages respect for others and acceptance of difference.
  • The organisation’s values are integrated with strategy to allow values-based decisions to cascade throughout all planning and performance management activities.
  • Information about the vision and values is covered in induction programs.

The manager’s role in vision and values

In the ideal situation:

  • Managers demonstrate a strong commitment to the vision and values.
  • Managers reinforce the importance of having a positive work environment to staff.
  • Managers model the vision and values every day and refer to them when making decisions.

The individual’s role in vision and values

In the ideal situation:

  • Individuals support and model the values.
  • Individuals understand the values that reflect respect and dignity at work.

The litmus test for vision and values

Some important questions to ask about your organisation:

  • Does the organisation have a clear vision statement and values?
  • Are the vision and values used to guide organisational behaviour at all levels?
  • Do managers model the vision and values to encourage positive workplace behaviours?
  • Do individuals feel part of a positive work environment?


Measures that may be useful for confirming the quick check tool results or monitoring cultural change could include:

  • Employment brand strength
  • Employee commitment index

Source: A Dictionary of People Metrics

Case study: Sharing the Vision and Modelling the Values

The claims team had a long history of getting rid of managers they didn’t like. Their tactics were well known to senior managers who felt unable to stop them from doing so. That was until a consultant suggested the senior managers had played a role in fostering the situation themselves.

The consultant’s independent cultural audit and employee survey revealed a cynical and unhappy workforce who had seen a lot of change in the workplace but felt unengaged in it themselves. With three name changes in the last eight years and the constant threat of restructure, demand for improved services remained high but real results were poor. The

reasons soon became clear with staff interviews being typified by ‘old hand’ Daniel who had begun in the office as a processing clerk over 20 years ago. He dismissed the ‘fancy words’ of the vision and values as ‘meaningless mumbo jumbo because they only look out and never in’. What did he mean? Staff felt the vision and values were only about serving customers well. They were not about staff. The demands for better service were imposed

on staff, became increasingly more demanding and were never based on their feedback.

The appointment of Peter, a new senior manager, was used to herald a ‘new’ style of participative management. Two years later the norm is for everyone, from senior managers to the newest recruit, to openly discuss and debate new options for improvement. It is now well understood that quality customer care begins with caring for each other and that the frontline culture depends on a strong and supportive workplace environment.

Both staff and customer satisfaction levels are high and still rising. As a leader, Peter focuses on building a positive work environment for everyone. He involves staff, customers and suppliers alike in working to achieve this goal.

Further Resources for Vision and Values