Character is the muscle that brings values to life

For values and purpose to be deeply embedded in organisations, high aspirations need to be joined to practical action.

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Business values

The fluid integration of modern life means that the companies we work for and the products we purchase are bound up with the way we define ourselves as individuals. The appeal of a brand is its alignment with who we are or who we want to be, that is, with our values. This dynamic has brought values to the fore as an important business concern.

If customers and colleagues care about the values of a business, the business needs to care about values in order to earn and sustain their commitment. The last thirty years have seen a greater focus on purpose and values in business than ever before. However, embedding important values in organisational life is not easy.

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Values and performance

There is good evidence that values-based practice enhances organisational performance, protecting firms from ethical risk, enabling them to connect with customers at a deeper level, and increasing engagement and well-being amongst colleagues.

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Aspiration and action

We believe that an intentional focus on the development of character can help individuals and organisations embed and enact their values. Present efforts to put values into practice are grounded in specified behaviours and underlying mindsets. This is a good start but the shift to character goes deeper, moving from a modular, mechanistic model to a holistic, humanistic one. Character integrates aspiration and action at the deepest level.