The Problem with Creating Shared Values


The Problem with Creating Shared Values


In this article, Jesse Jacoby explores the benefits of hiring employees with shared values, and the problem with creating shared values.

It’s been suggested that you can increase team performance by creating values that all members share.

Sounds like a great idea, right?

What could be better than if everyone had the same red lines, if everyone held themselves to a particular code of ethics, or insisted on a minimum standard of work?

Just imagine the harmony.

There would be no disagreements, no infighting, and no betrayal.

Everyone would always do what was expected of them.

Sound like a pipe dream?

Good, because it is.

The problem with creating shared values is that the tail is wagging the dog. You’re trying to fake it until you make it. You’re asking a group of people to function as a unit by acting in a way that isn’t consistent with who they are.

Hold that thought.

For some period, character actors will take on the persona of the individual that they’re trying to portray, that person that they want you, the audience, to believe they are.

Tom Cruise wants you to believe that he’s really Ethan Hunt. Tom Hanks wants you to believe that he’s Mr. Rogers. Daniel Craig wants you to believe that he’s James Bond. And if, when you see them in a movie, that’s who think they are, then they’ve succeeded.

But even actors need to be themselves most of the time; not the person that they sometimes pretend to be.

Now the difference between actors who play a part and people who act according to their values is that the former follows a script. It’s true that sometimes actors ad lib a little bit, but usually, they’re simply repeating the carefully crafted words of someone else, albeit with the emotion of the character that they play. That’s much easier than pretending to be someone you’re not without a script.

When you expect people to subscribe to a code of sorts that’s different from the values that they hold, then you’re really asking them to act like someone else. People go to acting school to learn how to do this. It’s beyond the skill of the average person.

So, the answer to the question, “Should you try to create shared values?” Is “No,” and that’s because you can’t assume that people will follow them even if you do.

Key points include:

  • Team performance

  • Authenticity of values

  • Why shared values are important

Read the full article, Should You Try to Create Shared Values, on