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HOW TO: Develop corporate values

One of the biggest challenges faced by any organisation is how to translate its corporate strategy into something that the individuals who represent it can understand and act upon every day. This is where values can help. Most organisations have a set of corporate values, which in theory helps to both define and shape the unique internal culture, which in turn is a powerful driver of business performance.

Defining a clear set of corporate values is a component part of developing a high performance culture, which is increasingly seen as a means to secure sustainable competitive advantage. A high performance culture is not something that can be easily or quickly replicated and when momentum is built up it becomes an established part of life in the organisation. Values-related action at work should be as natural as discussing last night's television or tomorrow's weather.

Every business needs some distinctiveness and personality. The values vocabulary is relatively limited, and can tend towards truisms, but its interpretation can be individual and dynamic, creating an environment that promotes acceptable levels of initiative and appropriate degrees of risk taking amongst employees.