How to write a values statement that encourages ethical behavior


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Ethics expert Christopher Bauer shares tips for writing a values statement that promotes ethical behavior through an entire organization.

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How to write a values statement that encourages ethical behavior

  1. 1. How to Write a Values Statement That Encourages Ethical Behavior Christopher Bauer, PhD, CSP, HSP, CFS
  2. 2. Christopher Bauer Christopher Bauer, PhD is a licensed psychologist with more than twenty-five years of experience in understanding how and why people make the choices they do. Besides his expertise in ethics and in making ethics both fun and funny for his audiences, Christopher Bauer's unique style and contributions to the field have led him to be recognized with the Certified Fraud Specialist designation by the Association of Certified Fraud Specialists. He is also a professional member of the National Speakers Association and has earned their Certified Speaking Professional designation.
  3. 3. Poll # 1 My organization has a values statement and I can tell you exactly what it says. My organization has a values statement and I can tell you some part(s) of it. My organization has a values statement but please don’t ask me to tell you what it actually says! My organization either doesn’t have a values statement or I don’t actually know whether or not we have one.
  4. 4. We All Have Core Values* *We just aren’t usually very clear or honest about what they actually are…
  5. 5. What Actually Are Core Values? • Our most persistent, most important priorities • The rules we follow when no one is looking • The thoughts/wishes/drives that govern our behavior as individuals and organizations more than any others • Who we really are as opposed to who we simply want to say we are
  6. 6. What Is A Values Statement? Our core values in a form that is: • Clear • Concise • Easily memorized • Easily applied • An honest statement of our most important, most persistent priorities
  7. 7. What Isn’t A Values Statement? • Mission Statement • Vision Statement • Ethics Code • Code of Conduct • Policies and Procedures • A PR Document
  8. 8. Done Right, A Values Statement: • Lets everyone – both internally and externally – know your most important, most persistent priorities • Lets everyone immediately and effectively self-evaluate re: the appropriateness of their (and others’) behavior • Tells everyone how to make the best possible decision in the absence of other guidance
  9. 9. Why Bother? #1 A well-written values statement will drive a culture of ethics and values by helping assure that behavior is always aligned with your stated values.
  10. 10. Why Bother? #2 Customer trust will be built and maintained when customers know how you make your decisions. Is customer trust essential to your organization? (Well, um, yes!)
  11. 11. Why Bother? #3 It gets everyone on the same page when making management, leadership, and customer-service decisions. Would your organization benefit if management, leadership & customer service decisions were always entirely aligned? (This qualifies, I believe, as a ‘no-brainer’…)
  12. 12. Getting Values Statements Right Part #1 It must be: •Brief •Concise •Crystal Clear & Unambiguous •Free of Slogans & Buzzwords
  13. 13. Poll # 2 I think the following would be terrific inclusions in a values statement: •Integrity •Creativity •Passion for our work •All of the above •None of the above
  14. 14. Getting Values Statements Right Part #2 Each item must: •Apply to everyone equally •Be able to be clearly ‘behavioralized’ •Be in the control of all employees •Be relevant •Be lacking in potential for unintended consequences
  15. 15. Getting it Written Requires: • Participatory input • Slower is better • Sending it ‘up and down the line’ • Understand what the ‘hard work’ is and do it • Don’t, don’t, don’t ‘settle’!
  16. 16. Questions so far? Send ‘em in…
  17. 17. Getting it Implemented Requires: • Leadership support • Management buy-in • Exactly nothing you aren’t already doing • Positioning your values statement as a true ‘touchstone’
  18. 18. Be Prepared For: •“This is taking waaaaay too long.” •“Come on – this is all just semantics.” •“But we already have a mission statement.” •“This is a job for our marketing and PR departments. That’s what we pay them for!” •“This is good enough...”
  19. 19. Questions?
  20. 20. Poll #3 Based on this program so far, I believe that a well-written, wellimplemented values statement could bring significant value to my organization: •Yes •No •Not sure
  21. 21. Only Do it If You’re Going To Do it Right! A poorly-written, well-implemented values statement is a wildly dangerous thing. A well-written and well-implemented values statement will drive a culture of ethics while focusing and streamlining management, leadership, and customer-service initiatives. This, in turn, strengthens your brand.
  22. 22. Additional Resources Free Weekly Ethics Thought Free Monthly Customer Trust-Building Tipsheet Free Ethics/Values Culture ‘Opportunity Audit’ Request by email at: or via Webform at
  23. 23. For information on Christopher Bauer’s other programs: or call (800) 884-8569 or (615) 385-3523 Contact us at i-Sight Thanks!