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Are you true to your values in a Pandemic?


As a Certified Consultant with the Barrett Values Centre I was fascinated to see the results from the Global COVID-19 Culture Assessment that they completed during, what we all hope will be, the peak of the pandemic in the UK.

Following the survey, Crystal Wiedemann from the Values Centre wrote an article entitled ‘The Great Transformation’. It considers the cultural implications of COVID-19 and the impact of the ‘Great Pause’ which has forced individuals, organisations, and even humanity at large to stop, look inward, and then shift how they operate in the world.

An initial take on the results could be considered through a Darwinian lens where the pandemic has created a positive and healthy shift in personal values towards ‘making a difference’, ‘adaptability’, ‘well-being’ and ‘caring’. Whilst organisations have moved away from ‘control’ towards ‘adaptability’ and greater ‘people focus’. One of the conclusions that Crystal draws is that organisational culture is healthier and that the values required to recover are prevalent. So, despite the fear, loss and uncertainty of this pandemic there is some good news in the respect of what looks like both organisations and people’s ability to support each other, collaborate, recover and move forward.

Will this positive shift be a temporary or a long term more permanent outcome only time will tell. However, my question to you is how has your organisation faired so far? So many organisations have historically invested so much in creating a set of corporate ‘values’ that as employees we should live and breathe by; they are often so publicly displayed on internal communications to staff, corporate PowerPoint slides, screen savers, meeting rooms, corridors and offices. But how has your organisation faired in being true to those values through this trauma? Were those values even appropriate for your organisation, or just words? Or maybe they were and are not now? Has the pandemic unmasked the true values and culture of your organisation?

As people start to return to offices from working from home, return to work after being furloughed or just settle into the new ways of working it is important that organisations take steps to more closely understand what matters most to individuals. Whilst our personal values are fairly consistent over time, when life conditions change as those most probably have, our personal values shift too. An individual’s personal values shape how they behave. At a macro level, understanding the collective alignment of the personal values to the organisational values is critical to ensuring that people feel connected to the organisation and that they can bring themselves to work, have a common purpose and can perform.

Whatever the future may bring as we continue to ride out the pandemic, organisations will need a strong culture to carry them through these continuing uncertain times.

Perhaps this is now the time to get close to the personal values of the people who make up your organisation and validate the organisational values? Or evolve them to reflect the reality?

Learning from times of adversity is so critical to our future success and wellbeing moving forward, take the time. Contact Atonic4Learning.