Most organizations have a published set of values.  Unfortunately, often that is where it stops.  They put a page on their website or a plaque on the wall and feel their work is done.  It is easy to establish values; it is EXTREMELY HARD to model and live them everyday.

The responsibility to instill the values in the culture rests solely on the shoulders of leadership.  It is a daunting task and I would argue there is not much more important in a leader’s performance than the effective stewardship of values.  Your every action MUST be a model of the values for all to follow.

Here are 10 effective ways a leader cultivates values:

  • Expect yourself and all leaders in the organization to have the values memorized. (Recite them daily and randomly quiz others)
  • Elevate, discuss, define and reinforce values openly & often in meetings. (Share stories of positive values performance / Connect the dots on how activities are aligning with values)
  • Hire to values above competency. (It is far easier to train job competencies and skills than values.)
  • Performance discussions based on values. (When evaluating employees focus just as much on values behavior performance as on technical / metrics performance)
  • Build high performing systems around values. (Lean manufacturing processes / Behavior-based safety programs are great ways to advance a value of excellence)
  • Align recognition programs with values. (If you have recognition celebrations, have awards for “Best Values Performance” in addition to Top Sales / Highest Productivity / and the normal performance areas that you recognize)
  • Use events to build your values. (If you have a value of Employee Well-being you might host an organization wide Fishing Derby / Golf Outing / Day at the Ballgame)
  • Connect all decisions and activities back to values. (You will have multiple choices on decisions; using your values as a funnel will lead you in the right direction)
  • Visually (use video) illustrate the difference between what is expected behavior versus mis-aligned behavior. (A picture is worth 1,000 words!)
  • Ask for feedback on how you are modeling the values. (Being vulnerable and always looking to be better on personal values performance, is a model you want to set for all employees)

Every organization has a culture. Servant leaders are intentional about building the culture they desire by cultivating the values at every opportunity.

What are some of your unique ways that you cultivate values within your sphere of influence?


I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.  I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.  John 13:15-18