Values – the foundation of corporate culture

Hall tonna

The Hall Tonna Values Scale

I’ve long held the belief that corporate culture was the determining factor in a company’s success and that it is the job of the founders to develop and build a sustaining corporate culture. I’ve called corporate culture “the invisible hand of management.” Others call corporate culture “what you do when no one’s watching” or “company culture is what goes without saying.”

But a lengthy breakfast with Dr. Gunther Weil, founder of Value Mentors, convinced me that while corporate culture is indeed critical, it is corporate values that are most important, as those value determine corporate culture.

Gunther told me about the Hall Tonna values scale which his firm uses in its executive coaching practice. The values scale was developed by Dr. Brian Hall in the early 1970’s and validated in the 1980’s while Dr. Hall was at Santa Clara University. He now runs Values Technology, which is based on his work on values as they relate to cultural alignment. The firm has developed proprietary document values analysis software that has been used for branding and marketing.

It’s important to note that values are different, but closely related to the guiding principles of a corporation, which I listed for several leading companies in  Your company’s guiding principles.

You can learn more about how values drive culture from both Gunther’s Value Mentors web site and the web site of Brian Hall.

So before you write down your companies guiding principles start with determining your company’s guiding values.


Author: Mentorphile

Mentor, coach, and advisor to entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profit organizations. General manager with significant experience in both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Focus on media and information. On founding team of four venture-backed companies. Currently Chairman of Popsleuth, Inc., maker of the Endorfyn app for keeping fans updated on new stuff from their favorite artists.

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