Ward to the Wise

Stakeholder Relations: Company Values: Walk The Talk

walk-the-talkSuccessful companies with high profiles realize every action they take is subject to public scrutiny.  Public exposure is significantly increased when corporations initiate complex transformational projects that require communicating and engaging with multiple stakeholder groups.  Responsible organizations understand the importance of living and demonstrating their corporate values not only with customers and regulators, but with stakeholders as well. When actions line up with stated values, the company will be able to effectively communicate those values. 

They are not just words.

Corporate values are not just words.  They are the true core character of a company, but only if lived.  To be meaningful, corporate values must be internalized by each employee at all levels of an organization.  Corporate values do not change as circumstances change. Nor are they optional when the company’s self-interest is at stake.  They remain steadfast and are strictly adhered to.  If not, they are simply empty slogans that sound nice, but have no substance.

Translating corporate values into actions

Companies that live their corporate values communicate those values to employees, contractors and their stakeholders. These companies invest the time required to ensure their values are incorporated into the everyday operations. When they learn an employee has compromised the stated values by doing or saying something in conflict with their stated values, management takes corrective action.

Additionally, companies that insist their people “walk the talk” proactively seek opportunities to demonstrate their values to their stakeholders.  Why?  Because the evidence will support it.  They do not have to shy from publicly proclaiming their values in action because someone will be able to prove otherwise.  Every company action and interaction is a testimony to their deeply ingrained value system – or a testament to how the publicized values are a farce intended to build an undeserved reputation.  For example, a company that lives its expressed values “to care for our community,” will take every step needed to do no harm to that community.  They communicate honestly and openly with the community, listen to their opinions and concerns, and respectfully and directly address those concerns through their actions, not just their well-crafted messaging. They don’t obfuscate the truth and/or put up barriers to prevent open communication with their community.

Living corporate values is no easy task.  However, companies that commit to making their corporate values a high priority work diligently to instill those values in their employees and contractors, use their values to guide business decisions, and take every opportunity to communicate those values to their stakeholders are to be commended. These companies are raising the bar for the rest of corporate America.

If your stakeholder relations activities aren’t aligned with your corporate values, contact us.  Ward can help you build internal communications and stakeholder relations programs that clearly and proactively reflects and communicates your corporate values, as lived.

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