Valueship is not a new concept.

Those who are leading successful companies are doing so because they are practicing valueship. A number of prominent business educators and researchers have studied the correlation between leadership, behavior, and organizational performance. They found that leaders of the best-performing organizations defined their jobs as:

  • Identifying and constantly communicating commonly held values

  • Shaping such values to enhance performance

  • Ensuring the capability of people around them, and

  • Living the commonly held values

Never before has Valueship been more important than today. Role models, athletes, corporate leaders, and government officials are accused and convicted of crimes both small and large. Our daily entertainment consists of television and video games filled with violence, impropriety, and questionable values. Implicit in all of this is a subtle approval of behavior we then verbally condemn. By our actions or our apathy, we are setting the standards and values or lack of them for our employees, our children, and the next generation. The need for Valueship can be seen in every profession, rank, and industry. The important decisions we make in life and in business should be influenced by values.

Valueship is a process of leading people and organizations with as much focus on doing the right things as doing things right. When people, processes, and structure are in alignment with the values, vision, and strategy, the individual and the organization is balanced and the actions of each produce positive results for the other. When people feel as if they are an important part of the organizational whole, are committed to the goals and values of the organization, and see the leaders living these goals and values, they will generally be motivated to do good and even exceptional work. The result is a strategic alignment of resources and true organizational cohesion.

Value-based leadership begins with identifying core values. Core values are the basic principles that we have chosen to guide our actions. Core values define beliefs, standards, and acceptable behavior. The core values provide the framework for decisions, priorities, and actions.

Successful leaders make important decisions based on a set of core values and do the right things for the right reasons. In an organization, personal values may differ. A leader will help everyone focus on common values that will engineer a desire for cooperation and teamwork, without invalidating those personal differences. What are your values? Can you easily and specifically identify them? What about people throughout your organization? Are they committed to the organizational values?

My firm belief is that values are the buoys in the channel of commerce. During the course of your career, you’ve got to make thousands of decisions. You’ve got to react to what happens every day. But if you can’t tie your decisions back to your core values, you get lost. Totally lost.” James R. Houghton, former chairman and CEO of Corning Incorporated.