Ideas for Leaders #106

Culture Club: Coaching by Values for Corporate Success

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Key Concept

How can leaders create the right corporate culture to confront the myriad levels of complexity in today’s turbulent business environment?

The emerging concept of ‘coaching by values’ (CBV) provides a flexible framework to help them reengineer their organization’s corporate culture and create positive outcomes for all stakeholders.

Idea Summary

Success in business is no longer about simply becoming bigger or richer than one’s competitors. It is about being able to deal with increasing levels of complexity, including the management of that which is core to our human nature, our values.

In the 21st century’s global arena, and in the wake of corporate scandals, wars, and natural disasters, leadership is complicated. Society has increased demands concerning quality and customer service; organizations have become less hierarchical, with a new breed of empowered employees seeking meaningful work; and bosses have to think constantly about issues of sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

Gone are the slower-paced days of the early 20th century when we could manage by instruction (MBI), and pass trusted methods of operating on to others. Management practice evolved beyond this into management by objectives (MBO), as the rate of change in business accelerated, and more flexibility of action was required.

MBO allows managers to choose their own strategy and agree on a course of direction, but it is a predictive practice that has become increasingly insufficient in today’s fast-paced world, where the impact of technology and global competition have radically changed the nature of doing business.

Organizations are now seen as complex and dynamic systems, operating in a state of flux, where leaders have to adopt a managing and coaching by values philosophy (MBV and CBV). These values include economic-pragmatic values relating to efficiency and performance standards and guide activities such as accounting and quality assurance; ethical and social values that are shared by those within the firm; and emotional-spiritual values such as passion, energy and optimism that help drive creativity and new ideas.

Understand these values, these motivators that drive the behaviour of organizations and the individuals within them, align that with the vision and mission of the firm, and you have a plan for sustainable excellence in the modern world.

Business Application

 Some simple steps for CBV:

  • Appoint a transformational leader in the organization who is willing to assume the role of coach.
  • Work out the dominant culture – do economic values dominate over ethical or emotional ones, or are all the core values of the business distributed evenly?
  • Generate dialogue amongst team members – do values need to change to achieve the desired culture, and if so, make sure they align with the vision and mission of the company
  • Ensure your value system stays on track by selecting new employees with either the same set of values or a willingness to embrace those shared values.
  • Do a regular ‘value audit’ to be certain that the new culture is maintained
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Idea conceived

  • 2012

Idea posted

  • March 2013

DOI number



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