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Any institution’s adherence to the social contract is best based on a well developed set of core values. Core values should be both aspirational and inspirational; “generating value” or “being profitable” are generally not recommended as core values. After all, if employees do not grasp that their enterprise needs to generate profits, then the management has a much larger problem on its hands.

Similarly, “compliance with the law” is a fairly mundane goal to articulate in a set of core values. Everyone knows compliance is what one does to avoid fines or jail. Imagine a CEO leading his or her sales pitch to talented recruits with corporate attributes such as, “We do not make up our accounting numbers, we do not permit employee harassment, and we do not violate major environmental laws . . .” Compliance should be a starting point, not a lofty final goal.


We start the process of examining the effectiveness of a company’s values program by asking questions such as:

  • If there is a current values program, how did it originate?

  • How is it communicated internally and externally?

  • How is senior management involved?

  • What metrics are used?


 



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