Management by values: What is that?

Published on 17/04/2024

Management by values: What is that?

Published on 17/04/2024
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Management by values: What is that?

‘If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.’ – Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

Following this precept lays the groundwork for management values-based leadership, which aligns more closely with modern business management trends, given today’s complex organizational landscape.

Values-based leadership (VBL) is a renewed tool for strategic leadership based on values. It fosters dialogue about values and offers a way to understand and apply knowledge and experiences. Values-based integrates the human dimension into managerial thinking in daily practice, humanizing the core purpose of a company by providing a comprehensive framework for continuously redesigning its culture. This encourages collective commitment to new and inspiring projects.

The purpose of values-based leadership is to simplify, guide, and engage:

  • Simplify: Absorb the organizational complexity arising from the increasing need to adapt to changes at all levels of the company, making work more practical and dynamic.
  • Guide: Channel the collective strategic vision towards where the company should go in the future.
  • Engage: Integrate strategic leadership with people management (human resources), aiming to foster commitment to quality professional performance on a daily basis, with greater professional and emotional involvement. This ensures that employees are and feel part of the company and its decision-making process.

The ultimate goal of this value system is to enhance individual and team creativity compared to the current system constrained by rules that prevent employees from contributing anything new without breaking some norm, ultimately pigeonholing them into ordered and continuous tasks that do not allow for personal improvement or contribution to the company.

By establishing values instead of rules, employees, while respecting those values, which initially generate a more chaotic work system than established norms, are provided additional freedom to be more creative in their ideas, processes, and ways of working or organizing themselves, leading to increased performance. Values-based leadership results in a chaotic social system, and chaos enhances creativity.

Therefore,  values-based leadership is an unpredictable system in the sense that its future behavior cannot be predicted with certainty. It is open, through the exchange of energy and matter with its environment. This dynamic nature means its properties change over time, resulting in continuous irreversible evolution with unpredictable results, but greater than the sum of its parts.

In values-based leadership, we must establish values, but also set realistic goals that are neither excessively simple nor overly complex, as both scenarios would lead to a lack of motivation. These objectives must be decided or at least accepted by those who must achieve them.

Values-based leadership proposes, in one way or another, the following steps:

  • Definition of objectives by identifying critical success variables, measurement indicators, and current and desired levels.
  • Development of action plans, marking stages for each group of tasks and the relationships between them, as well as assigning responsibilities and necessary resources.
  • Regular reviews, based on a control system.
  • Annual results evaluation at the end of the fiscal year.

In summary, values-based leadership is a chaotic system that enhances creativity and replaces rules with values, allowing more room for employees to exercise creativity and apply it to their tasks and methods of work. This ultimately increases personal productivity and, collectively, that of the company.”

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