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The value of values in today’s world is hard to overstate. In an era of moral upheaval, ethical missteps and depleted trust, people need to know what we stand for – and even more so, they need to see us stand for it.

While the message of corporate values has been drummed into companies for decades, many companies lack a real framework for finding them. Boardrooms filled with executives have watched hours waste away as they attempt to wordsmith lists of abstract values with no clear path through the process. Sadly, the result is often a tokenistic corporate statement that is ultimately inconsequential in the everyday life of the company.

Here are 3 characteristics of effective values to consider in your next corporate values meeting.

If we have learned anything in the last year, it is that the only certain thing is uncertainty. Businesses have felt this too, with lockdowns, virus variants and financial instability sending consumer confidence plummeting. This is in line with trends that were already at play as a series of scandals, ethical missteps and moral failures in public organisations drove home the undeniable message that businesses and institutions cannot be trusted.

For this reason, building trust should be one of the central priorities for all companies in today’s world. Especially post-pandemic, much of this trust needs to be built through consistency. For all the pivoting we have done during COVID, there is much to be said for the value of consistency in the face of uncertainty.

In a season of intense global uncertainty, unpredictable business conditions and politics of more tension and division than ever before, a stable, predictable and trustworthy presence is of priceless value.

In the last few weeks, it has seemed that every day has brought yet another piece of bad news, pushing the world deeper and deeper into crisis mode. With more and more job losses, confirmed cases of Covid-19 infection and uncertainties arising, it is difficult to see the opportunities being offered by a crisis like this.

It is undeniable that Coronavirus has violently disrupted the way we do normal life. The one unique gift it is giving us, however, is space. In the most literal sense, it is giving us physical space from each other and for many of us, from our regular offices, commutes and meeting places. More than that, it is giving us space to recalibrate.

Orienteering will always be one of my most vivid and fond memories of my days as a Scout - dropped in the middle of nowhere with a few buddies, the essentials, a map and a compass. One of orienteering’s most important lessons was learning to differentiate between magnetic and true north, adjusting our map and compass accordingly.

“The years ahead will see consumers value trust, whether it be in a brand, person or entity above price, promise or experience. Those who can gain and keep trust, through transparency and values-based offerings, will thrive.”