Posted by: johnocunningham | February 16, 2012

Communicating Your Values – Essential to Lasting Success

Much has been written on this blog about the importance of establishing and articulating an organizational statement of core values.

There is also a rich amount of academic study on the relationship between significant, lasting success and the establishment of core values in business. Stanford Professor James Collins, who wrote “Built to Last” and “From Good to Great,” has probably documented this more than any other scholar.

Now, we are seeing law firms and other service firms imitating their most successful business clients by formulating and communicating statements of core values, and the respected consulting group Altman Weil has published a report on the establishment of core values in law firms.

Among the benefits a firm can expect from articulating a values statement and from navigating by this moral compass are the following: more teamwork; better recruiting, better retention; and improved reputation.

For those who continue on without a set of standards to which the entire team is pledged, the results will not be pretty. They can expect the prevalence of more personal agendas, more internal struggles for dominance, and more operating silos instead of unified, energetic activities.

The development of a values statement is not a panacea, but it is a helpful and practical tool that provides a guide for the kind of employees the firm wants to recruit, retain and promote. It also provides a guide to the kinds of professional behavior that a firm chooses to nurture and encourage, as well as the behaviors that a firm will not tolerate. As Collins has amply demonstrated, firms that live by their values will actually outperform those that fail to live by them or even articulate them at all.

If you want to see a good example of a law firm’s value statement, check out the Collora LLP site. (Full disclosure note: Collora LLP is a client of this blog’s author).




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