Defining values is one thing, living them is another

This is how companies can better align with the values they claim to uphold.

AARON HURST: I think we're recognizing more and more the importance of values. And when you ask people about their preferences for work and where they want to work, they often cite they want a company that has strong values that are aligned with theirs. So you see more and more CEOs, more and more leaders, investing in the articulation of their corporate values.

You see consulting firms making millions of dollars helping organizations, you know, define their values. What we're seeing consistently is this is not working. What's happening is CEOs are defining the values of the organization. They're putting them on a beautiful poster boards. They're putting them on websites. They're promoting them out there. They might be getting on a stage at a large conference for their employees and sharing the values and sharing why they matter to them. Maybe they're going down to that next layer of leaders and saying, we really want you to connect to these values. We want you to be able to tell stories about why those values matter to you. But even still, at that point, you're not getting the values lived by the organization.

The majority of people can't name the values of their company, much less actually be able to figure out how to change their job to align with those values. If you truly want to bring your values as an organization to life, everyone in your company needs to be able to tell stories about how those values show up in their daily job. If inclusion is one of your values, every employee needs to say, 'How does that show up on my job? Why does that matter to me?'

You know, if integrity is a value of your company, every employee needs to be able to articulate how that shows up in their work. And this is not as challenging a process as you may first think. The simple process of connecting your employees in pairs and having them talk about how has a given value shown up in their career, what does it mean to them?

Maybe the two of them think about that in a different way. And they can actually have a really meaningful conversation about what integrity means to you versus them. That helps them truly understand what that value is. And then to see: How does it show up in their job today and how could they do more around that value?

So picture in one hour if every employee in your organization sat down with a colleague and had a conversation about one of your values, and really went in-depth, and talked about how they see it differently, how it shows up for them, how they plan to build it into their work, how that one hour would completely transform your organization.

  • Defining corporate values is increasingly important to organizations and society—which is why consulting firms are making millions of dollars helping organizations define their values. What we're seeing consistently, says social innovator Aaron Hurst, is this is not working.
  • You can print values on posters and talk about them at conferences, but these values often fail to become part of the fabric of the organization. They remain upper-management-speak.
  • You could start to fix that problem in one hour, says Hurst. Try his recommended exercise: Connect your employees in pairs and ask them to talk about how a given value has shown up in their career, what does it mean to them? Values are only legitimate if everyone in your company can tell genuine stories about how those values have shown up in their daily jobs.

‘Designer baby’ book trilogy explores the moral dilemmas humans may soon create

How would the ability to genetically customize children change society? Sci-fi author Eugene Clark explores the future on our horizon in Volume I of the "Genetic Pressure" series.

Surprising Science
  • A new sci-fi book series called "Genetic Pressure" explores the scientific and moral implications of a world with a burgeoning designer baby industry.
  • It's currently illegal to implant genetically edited human embryos in most nations, but designer babies may someday become widespread.
  • While gene-editing technology could help humans eliminate genetic diseases, some in the scientific community fear it may also usher in a new era of eugenics.
Keep reading Show less

Astrophysicists find unique "hot Jupiter" planet without clouds

A unique exoplanet without clouds or haze was found by astrophysicists from Harvard and Smithsonian.

Credit: M. Weiss/Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian
Surprising Science
  • Astronomers from Harvard and Smithsonian find a very rare "hot Jupiter" exoplanet without clouds or haze.
  • Such planets were formed differently from others and offer unique research opportunities.
  • Only one other such exoplanet was found previously.
Keep reading Show less

Lair of giant predator worms from 20 million years ago found

Scientists discover burrows of giant predator worms that lived on the seafloor 20 million years ago.

Credit: Rickard Zerpe / Flickr
Surprising Science
  • Scientists in Taiwan find the lair of giant predator worms that inhabited the seafloor 20 million years ago.
  • The worm is possibly related to the modern bobbit worm (Eunice aphroditois).
  • The creatures can reach several meters in length and famously ambush their pray.
Keep reading Show less

The mystery of the Bermuda Triangle may finally be solved

Meteorologists propose a stunning new explanation for the mysterious events in the Bermuda Triangle.

Surprising Science

One of life's great mysteries, the Bermuda Triangle might have finally found an explanation. This strange region, that lies in the North Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda, Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico, has been the presumed cause of dozens and dozens of mind-boggling disappearances of ships and planes.

Keep reading Show less

FOSTA-SESTA: Have controversial sex trafficking acts done more harm than good?

The idea behind the law was simple: make it more difficult for online sex traffickers to find victims.

Credit: troyanphoto on Adobe Stock
Politics & Current Affairs
  • SESTA (Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act) and FOSTA (Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act) started as two separate bills that were both created with a singular goal: curb online sex trafficking. They were signed into law by former President Trump in 2018.
  • The implementation of this law in America has left an international impact, as websites attempt to protect themselves from liability by closing down the sections of their sites that sex workers use to arrange safe meetings with clientele.
  • While supporters of this bill have framed FOSTA-SESTA as a vital tool that could prevent sex trafficking and allow sex trafficking survivors to sue those websites for facilitating their victimization, many other people are strictly against the bill and hope it will be reversed.
Keep reading Show less