Your organisation`s core values - are they really core?
Mission statements"", ""Corporate statements"", ""Description of the
core values"". We`ve all heard of them. We might also secretly think
that they are pretty words on that document on the shelf, but that they
really don`t matter in our everyday life in the sports organisation.
Well, we might have to think again. Intelligent corporate statements
could be one of the most important and fundamental decisions you develop
for your sports organisation. Once they are well defined, your core
values can not only clarify your organisation`s identity and set you
apart from the competition, but can also help you every time you have to
make a decision - big or small.
Core values are also fundamental in determining what attributes your
sport or event needs to focus on and put forward in order to be more
attractive to the end users or customers.
But it is not easy. Identifying your core values is one thing; sticking
to them is another. Strictly following your core values can inflict
pain. Some of your own employees might feel like outcasts. They can
limit organisational and structural freedom by narrowing down the frame
of reference in which decisions are made. It is a painful process, but
one that allows us to be much more focused.
What is a 'core value'?
So, what are core values, really? Well, they are the deeply ingrained
principles, your organisation`s cultural cornerstones, which can never,
ever, be compromised. They are what make your organisation distinct and
so must always be maintained. But here`s the danger: if the core values
that you decide will govern all your future decisions, really aren`t
core, they might put you on the wrong track and could cause substantial
damage to your organisation`s on-going business. This is why we need to
identify three other types of values, that need to be considered, but
not mistaken with core values.
These values are those that do not currently exist within your
organisation, but which you believe will help it to succeed in the
future. Aspirational values need to be carefully identified since they
can dilute your core values.
Let`s take an example: if you think `transparency` is one of your
values, then be sure it is. Now if you don`t systematically open all
your accounts to the press, or don`t take specifc governance decisions
that will make your organisation different in that way, then do not
bother. Your staff might be confused to see that all of a sudden
procedures change unnecessarily when actually these have been successful
until today and could stay that way.
So when a value you detect turns to be only aspirational, either
drastically change the way you work internally in order to make it core
or just forget about them now and put them aside for the future.
Permission-to-play values are the basic standards, the frame of
behaviour, within which your employees are required to perform. Being
simple standards, they do not vary from one organisation to another. If
mistaken with core values, they would put you in a difficult position in
relation to your company`s defining charcteristics. Your sport, your
event, needs to be unique in order to attract support. Organisations
focusing on marketing that have confused permission-to-play values with
core values have not found in them the necessary tools that help them
build, for example, a unique image for their sport.
`Integrity` very often is mistaken for a core value, when it is actually
a pretty standard thing to require from anybody working in an
organisation. Unless you take extraordinary measures to make sure that
everybody thinks `integrity` in any given situation, then you should not
consider `Integrity` as one of your organisation`s core values.
Accidental values arise without the cultivation of management. They are
these values that exist in your organisation, that can be identified
today, and which mostly reflect the common interest of the staff.
While these values can be very positive, since they reflect a certain
`personality` of the organisation, they have to be carefully managed and
not always allowed to turn into core values. Let`s take the example of
For decades, golf has been a sport mostly played by middle aged, wealthy
men. The sport`s traditional - and accidental - values of `elitism` and
`conservatism` became a burden when it came to developing the sport
worldwide. When new core values of education, equity and
self-development where slowly introduced, the sport started to broaden
its `customer` base to become the worldwide success that it is today, a
success that even pushes it to the doors of Olympism.
The core values must be integrated everywhere
As we see, identifying values that are not core can create dangers for
the future of your organisation. But, if you are positive that your
values are core and that they can either distinguish yourself from the
competition or really make your organisation stand up as forward
thinking and ahead of its time, then do not stop there. Integrate them
into every system that touches your employees. Core values such as
`dependability`, `dedication` and `self-motivation`, when used properly
and communicated constantly by management, will have a strong effect and
drastically simplify your decision-taking processes at the same time.