November 5, 2019

76: Bring Team Values to Life

How often does your team talk about goals (or impact or accomplishments)? And how often do you talk about your values?

Too often team or organizational values are meaningless words on the wall (or website). Unless we intentionally take steps to bring these values, the beautifully crafted inspirational values will likely never become core to the culture.

In this episode, I talk through various strategies to help bring your values to life. I discuss how to translate values into norms or behaviors, how to incorporate values into your accountability systems, and how to modify your ways of working to reflect your values.

The full episode guide includes a sample agenda, activities, and examples to help your team translate it’s values into norms and incorporate them into your ways of working. Get it when you join the Modern Manager community or purchase the full guide at

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Read the related blog article: How to Live Your Team Values Every Day

Key Takeaways:

  • Values on their own will not change a culture. It takes intentional effort to embrace the values and make them part of your team’s daily experience.
  • Norms can be explicit and implicit. Often we take cues from observing our colleagues to help us understand what behaviors are expected and accepted.
  • When norms are not intentionally developed based on the team’s values, they emerge organically. In this case, they are typically derived from the team leader and/or the loudest personalities.
  • To generate norms as a team, ask the group, “for each value, what behaviors would we observe if people were living this value?”
  • Collectively identify the top 1-3 norms to focus on first. These could be the easiest to implement, most needed, greatest ROI, etc.
  • Elevate the norms to the same level of importance as your team’s goals. Talk about them wherever you’d talk about goals.
  • Share stories of when you’ve observed people upholding the norms and values.
  • Incorporate ratings or reflection questions specifically about upholding the team values and/or norms into your performance review process.
  • Include developing skills and capabilities related to the values in your individual development plans.
  • Talk with team members individually when they don’t uphold a norm. Seek to understand why and support them to do better in the future.
  • Reflect on your current ways of working – processes, practices, rewards, etc – and ask if they are aligned with your team values.
  • Take steps to update or redesign any ways of working that are inhibiting people (as structural roadblocks or de-motivators) from living the values.
  • Make it fun by including visuals, playful language or other approaches that highlight the team’s values.
  • Recognize that this process takes time and focus, but it’s worth the investment.

Additional Resources:

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