The 10 values that will matter most after COVID-19

According to a survey of Management Today readers.

by Management Today
Last Updated: 06 Jul 2020

Which values matter most to you? Which would you most like to see in your business? When the chips are down, is it more important to be successful or sustainable, to be a good team player or a great innovator? 

A few months ago, culture auditor Brands With Values presented Management Today readers with a word wall of 81 sentiments - good and bad - that reflect a broad range of cultural values, and asked them to select which they would most like to see in their industry. The same question was also put to senior business people by executive search firm Green Park. 

The COVID-19 Culture and Inclusion Study, out today, analyses the results from over 500 senior executives, across various sectors. Here are the top 10 values you’d most like to see:

1= Agility - 58 per cent of respondents

1= Honesty - 58 per cent 

3. Socially responsible - 56 per cent

4. Teamwork - 54 per cent

5= Human - 49 per cent

5= Innovative - 49 per cent

7. Ethical - 48 per cent

8. Respectful - 41 per cent

9. Transparent - 40 per cent

10. Courageous - 36 per cent

The report’s lead author and Brands With Values founder Martin Roach notes a clear preference for what he calls intrinsic values - those like honesty, community and teamwork that are inherently rewarding - over extrinsic values - those that are primarily concerned with external rewards and success.

“Respondents, regardless of seniority, role or industry, have sent a direct message regarding the values they would like to see put in place to navigate these times. The message is that whilst success is important, it may have to play second fiddle to the welfare and wellbeing of individuals and the environment in which we work and live,” says Roach, adding that 62 per cent of words selected fell into the intrinsic category. 

Clearly, there may be a difference between the values we want to see and the values we actually display, but the strong emphasis on social responsibility, ethics and honesty seems to bode well for the enlightened character of Management Today readers.

What speaks most to the age we live in though is the importance placed on agility. 

As Martin Sorrell told us recently, COVID-19 is a burning platform, meaning agility and adaptability are for many businesses simply necessary for survival. Interestingly, though, the value of agility was placed some way higher than the value of innovation, which reveals perhaps an emphasis on the speed of change, as opposed to the depth. 

“Whilst the nuance between moving quickly and innovation is subtle it is important to highlight as dealing with the pandemic has been more about bringing plans forward rather than completely innovating how things are done,” explains Roach.

You can explore the full results of the report here

Image credit: marrio31 via Getty Images

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