The value of values

What did you have for breakfast? Karen Middleton is a believer in the importance of culture in your daily diet

I hope you saw CSP Council’s vision for the profession, launched last year.
If not, here is a link. It was the first step in developing our mission for the CSP, to ensure it reflects the changes in the healthcare landscape and is forward looking in its approach for the profession. 
Now council has now agreed the mission for the organisation and the new three-year strategy, which runs till 2020, will deliver that mission and ensure your society is as efficient and effective as possible. But more of this in my next In Person column and other communications from the CSP in the autumn. 
Crucial to delivering all these changes is the culture of the organisation – some of you may be familiar with the phrase ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’. So, whatever plans you have in place, without the organisation having the right culture, they may not be delivered.
Values are the core of culture: what we stand for and believe in, our principles, ideals and beliefs. Getting the right culture to deliver the strategy – or performing at the very highest level – requires attention to organisational values.
This is exactly what staff at the CSP have been working on over the last few months (as well as doing their day job!). The evidence is out there: the top performing organisations in the public and private sectors are those that have a clear set of values embedded in the work of the organisation, partly through systems and processes. They also perform well because there is strong alignment between the organisational values and those held by the individuals working for the organisation.
Where there is strong alignment between personal and organisational values, individuals can perform at their very best – they can be creative and innovate in order to deliver the strategy – and so the organisation performs well. After all, an organisation, service or team is simply a collection of people. 
The value of values, however, can never be fully realised unless they are developed in the right way. That means using an inclusive approach to create buy-in. Otherwise they just remain a list – however creative – on a wall or a website, or in a publication. Values need to be embedded into the fabric of the organisation through its systems and processes – everything from recruitment to how business is conducted.
The values also have to be lived. We will be translating the CSP’s values into expected behaviours of all staff which then clearly delivers the culture or ‘the way we do things around here’.
All very interesting for CSP staff, but what relevance does it have for you as a CSP member?
First, it should impact on the service you can expect from the CSP staff.
Second, as a member of the CSP, you will be more aware of the values of your organisation when you are representing the CSP, acting on the society’s behalf. 
Clearly, that is in addition to the CSP Code of Conduct and the Health and Care Professions Council Standards.
So, you might want to consider the values held in your team, service or organisation. Do you have any? Should you have them, given they relate so closely to performance and culture? How are they exhibited and embedded? If you don’t have them, perhaps consider developing some. A good place to start is learning from other organisations and teams and having a conversation about what you have gleaned.
Not everyone thinks as I do about values. Often this cynicism is based on people’s experiences where values are talked about but not demonstrated; where they lacked authenticity, or where they were just ‘motherhood and apple pie’ aspirations. If organisational values are to be of real value, coming up with them is only the start; they must be a work in progress.
Physiotherapy is a values-driven profession. Perhaps think how to take that one step further in driving up excellence in your team or service. fl

Karen Middleton Chief Executive Officer CSP

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