A colleague asked:

“Does anyone have a case study, article(s), or other resources that explain how a retail bank with branches got their people to internalize and demonstrate values? Hoping for some guidance also on what kind of metrics they used to get people to focus on the values through the performance measurement.”

To which I responded:

IMHO values for the most part get taught at a very early age (already internalized for better and worse), and having a corporation “teach” values like integrity to the employees is paternalistic and insulting. Also a hugely popular way for corporations to look as if they are doing something. The employees that have the desired values look at the list and sit through the meetings judging upper management as lacking the very things they are preaching, the employees that don’t have the values will not be influenced in the slightest. Far more useful to start at the top and cascade team sessions in which bosses and their direct reports self-assess team and systemic functioning and give frank respectful feedback to one another. Done well, that will improve the perception of the leadership within the system. If the leadership is perceived with disrespect (because the employees feel disrespected by the leadership) “rolling out” values aint going to make a whit of difference. 

If you proceed anyway (which you probably will), then behavioralize the so-called values (does integrity include the boss seeking feedback on a regular basis?) and use the roll out for team dialogue and devolvement. Each team could do a force-field analysis on what are the restraining forces that will prevent the values from being a reality, generate solutions, and implement what they can do locally while elevating what is systemic (like getting rid of the annual performance reviews as per Demming’s last suggestion to the world).

Obviously standard procedure is to incorporate the values (behavioralized or not) into the performance review system so that everyone can aspire to them (i.e., live in fear of being judged as not living up to them). Is “drive fear into the system” one of the values?

That’s a joke, son.

Does anyone have any measures that demonstrate that corporate values provide a return on investment? That I would like to see.



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Crosby & Associates OD is a catalyst for high performance & morale. Our methods are a unique blend grounded in research and decades of experience. In the spirit of Kurt Lewin, the founder of OD, as we partner with you in the present we transfer our methods to you so you are independent in the future. Learn more at
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