I once led a company that had a fine set of values. Or, at least, that’s what I thought…

I wasn’t part of the team that created them, but, as the incoming managing director, I thought it best to leave them alone. After all, they were in our conference rooms and everything.

It didn’t take me long to realise how ineffectual they were.

Quite simply, because people could only remember one of them (there were five, I think). I can’t even remember what it was now, but what I do remember is how often it was cited ironically when something had gone wrong or someone’s behaviour wasn’t living up to that value.

A company value as a stick to beat us with. That’s what this value — the only one that people talked about — had become.

Not defining, not guiding, not inspiring.

Something to reinforce how bad things were.

Don’t let your company values get like that. And if they are, then do something about it. Fast.

Because, as you’ll now see, it’s not that hard to create your personal values, and you’ll see how powerful they are.

In this article over at Substack I show why personal values and work values fit matters so much.

After all — you don’t want to be waking up wishing you hadn’t.