Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 140 – It’s Time For Company-wide Values

Dear leaders, company-wide values are something many organisations have introduced over the last ten years. 

Values to me are your company culture in simple words or phrases to keep you on track. 

Evolution: Values are an evolution, they are centralised beliefs that drive the business forward and are the guide on how to act and connect as professionals within your business. 

Some institutes and professional organisations have had values for decades and they never change. From in the home dressings, to the welcome packs they receive, to the onboarding and offboarding from the organisation. 

In a recent Focus (strategy + culture) workshop, a c-suite leader asked me why values (I prefer principles) are so important to their business specifically. 

My response was simple: 

  • Without values how do your people know they are working in the agreed way? 
  • How do they know they have the working mentality that is rewarded? 
  • How do they know if they can challenge each other or leadership on how they are acting within work? 

One set of values I tend to share with alphas is the England Rugby Values, they are simple, transferable and create a foundation to build on top of. 

England Rugby Values Are:

  • Sportsmanship 
  • Teamwork
  • Respect 
  • Enjoyment 
  • Discipline 

These work because: 

  1. The values cover the sport’s main directive sportsmanship  
  2. It incorporates how important the team is, rugby cannot be won without the whole team. 
  3. In rugby, you have to respect the officials, unlike in football (soccer) the referee has to be respected at all times. You have to respect your fellow players (teammates and your opponents). At the end of a hard-fought match, every player shakes hands and is respectful 
  4. When representing your country is supposed to be the biggest honour. Enjoying playing and representing your country is essential to win 
  5. Being disciplined in a game like rugby is critical, one mistake is often punished and the ability to stay disciplined when opponents might not be playing fair is critical. Showing discipline is a simple but strong overarching value.

I think it is safe to say you could roll a slightly tweaked version of these and be happy with them.  

The key to winning is: values have to be super simple to remember, understand and have guidance on why. 

The Process: In that same workshop: 

  • I asked the leadership team to write as many values as possible and then we discussed each and then they selected the top six that they respected and could see driving the business forward. 
  • The values were then presented to the wider team and were expanded upon 
  • They were then added to the onboarding flow for new starters  
  • The six values were added to the entrance wall as you enter their London-based HQ as well as pinned in their slack channels. I believe there is even office swag in the works. 
  • An exercise the leadership team agreed upon was to explain and discuss these values from the first interview and the successful candidates had to agree upon these values as they joined. 
  • The leadership team then associated each value with the leadership principles we co-created and has become a real driving force for the business.  

Like most frameworks, this sounds simple but was challenging and hard work for the leadership team and the wider business to adopt. It takes time, energy and someone apart from the CEO pushing it forward.  

Go Bigger? Another evolution to values is DNA documents – they are becoming a fixture in sports teams and some large organisations have their version that their teams sign up for. Helping them to know the history and the journey they will be going on and where success is. I personally think some organisations will need this and for others, without a long history, this will be a leap too far. 

Boil Down? A mantra based on values: You could even attempt to boil it all down to a single mantra that is lived and breathed. 

Newcastle men’s football team motto/mantra is “intensity is our identity”.  

Everything they do is centred around intensity to play football, attack in their play, gain back possession of the football and drive their opponents back. 

Do you need to roll out values that aren’t just driven by leadership and HR? I would suggest it is an obvious yes. 

Action: It Is Time To Create Your Company-Wide Values

If you would like to roll it out yourself, re-review the process mentioned or get in touch (email me at: 

Thanks and have a great week,

Danny Denhard  

PS Fun fact intensity is our identity this was a tweaked phase from the rival club and Liverpool’s assistant manager Pep Lijnders book.