Professional Values Management in Practice – Part I

How to be crisis-ready and resilient with a unique corporate culture is what I showed my students last week when we were guests of Vogel Foundation Dr. Eckernkamp ( in Wuerzburg. After a morning full of aha-effects about responsible core business and purposeful foundations, the students asked me if it “wouldn’t be incredibly expensive to afford such a professional values defintition process”?! The question was a very good one, because in fact, compared to many brand positioning processes, it costs almost nothing in terms of external consulting which is needed only in a very reduced way. BUT often the internal investment is forgotten! After all employees deal with their values in an awareness process and also discuss this in the company, the opportunity costs of the working time spent on this are also to be included in the expense calculation. This is an item that should not be underestimated! And it is precisely this investment that ensures sustainable and credible differentiation. After that, all employees are really on board and do not need to be influenced with questionable values or brand ambassador trainings.

Recently, in a good example of exemplary cooperative values performance, I announced that I would be publishing a short series on “Professional Values Management in Practice.” The example is a good way of explaining what steps are necessary to establish a lived culture of values in the company! The chosen values must be found through discourse ethics and likewise translated into daily action. At PSD Bank Nürnberg eG, we implemented this step at the same high level of grassroots democracy as we did in compiling the values portfolio. Here, too, the descriptions of what action should look like were developed jointly so that the values really come to bear and can be experienced. This is the most important first step towards a vividness and a common understanding of good and desirable actions. After that, it is important to establish a values management system that gives lasting relevance to the concrete values and includes constant reflection on the implementation and perception by all stakeholders. Once this is in place, the permeation of all areas with the values happens automatically over time!

Graphically, the Values Management Cycle looks like this:

Values Management Circle by Bolsinger
Values Management Circle by Bolsinger

Through the cycle, it becomes clear that a start with values can begin in different quadrants, but will never end. The permanent reflection – also against the background of a changing society and thus the corresponding markets – ensures that the organization always keeps its finger on the pulse. This avoids operational blindness and ensures continuous innovation.

Every organization must think about how exactly the values are actually lived in practice in its own organization. There are elements that work interchangeably, but a unique values management system also takes into account the organizational reality of the company. At PSD Bank Nuremberg, we have combined a unique values advisory board as an internal consulting unit, values ambassadors as multipliers, a staff department and a variety of projects to adapt the organizational framework.

Because the values are the basis for everything else, they show with which statements the organization can credibly differentiate itself beyond purely brand-oriented wishful thinking. What is developed here is self-perception, claim and vision at the same time and cannot be replaced by anything else. This is precisely what makes the investment of opportunity costs worthwhile! Many companies position themselves primarily on the basis of market research and marketing tips from external agencies or an industry association. Customers notice this at some point – because in the end, everyone tends to be the same in their statements and promises in the industry environment. IF they have not honestly gone through their own values management cycle.

If you want to know more about the individual steps, write to me! In the next posts I will go into your questions and the necessary steps …