When creating your logo, it has become a habit for creative people to ask entrepreneurs what values or energy they want to highlight. However, if this way of proceeding is interesting, it requires transparency on the part of the leaders.
Displaying its values on the walls of its premises has become a common business practice, but it should not turn into a masquerade. If your company displays values that are in contradiction with its behavior with both employees and customers, it may end up on the web, no one knows by what chance, designate as a company that lacks transparency. This practice is directly inspired by military traditions. Is this ostentatious display enough to unite all staff around the stated values? What is its real use?
Why display its values?
In the West, it was probably the Roman legions who first took care to display the famous SPQR “Senatus populusque romanus” on their standards and walls to remind everyone of their devotion to the people of Rome. Nowadays, all ships of the French Navy display the motto “Honneur, Patrie, Valeur, Discipline”.
On the business side, the major retailer Carrefour places solidarity at the heart of its concerns. Apple displays its concern for justice and appeals to the ghosts of Martin Luther King. Orange places simplicity and trust at the top of its many values, including audacity and transparency. These displays in the military and entrepreneurial environment constitute the most visible part of the iceberg of the management policy aimed at mobilizing energies towards the common objective: victory in one case, success in the other.
This display is aimed both internally and externally at all those who, in relation to the institution or company concerned, need to gauge its ambition in a few seconds. It would be naive to dismiss the marketing dimension, but limiting it to this aspect alone would be reductive. No offense to the company’s perpetual detractors, it is not exempt from true values, particularly in the Christian-Democratic tradition in Europe.
The limits of management by value
This form of management by value complements that by rule, but is not sufficient on its own. Beyond the contractual obligations that bind employers, employees and customers, it is about giving meaning to the action, strengthening cohesion and promoting what the manager or creator considers to be the DNA of his company.
As in the military environment, this display is not an end in itself and can even turn out to be counter-productive and become caricatural if it is not accompanied by a form of leadership by example. The entrepreneurial spirit is forged in the daily practice of the values set out in the charter and on its walls.
Respecting them can be like squaring the circle when an economic storm breaks out, for example. When we take responsibility for displaying values, there follows a commitment to respect them whatever the circumstances. The media crisis inevitably falls on companies that have strongly communicated on values that they do not respect. The leaders of Volkswagen are currently undergoing all the rigor of this basic rule of communication.
Displaying values in business is therefore not insignificant. This act of internal and external communication strongly engages management. Posting while forgetting to take action leads to an irreparable loss of credibility! However, this responsibility should not be limited to renunciation. Displaying one’s values with pride is a testimony to one’s confidence in oneself and in one’s future. An incantation not necessarily useless in these difficult economic times.