Designing values-based organisations


Management guru Peter Drucker observed that “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

It’s a thought borne out in modern business by the nagging feeling that – despite the best intentions and efforts of smart people – traditional management doesn’t quite work. Another crank of the strategy handle fails to get the business firing on all cylinders.

There’s an increasing body of evidence that new values-based frameworks create more engaged employees, making the business more effective, and producing better returns for investors. Research from Harvard Business School showed that a stock portfolio of companies with strong commitment to ESG culture (environmental, social, governance) beat the index by 6.01% annualised.

As a result, many organisations are seeking ways to build better performance by increasing rapport with their teams and creating a cohesive, purpose-driven culture.

And yet, this kind of living, breathing, progressive culture has to be introduced carefully. It takes leadership at all levels, openness and innovative thinking across the organisation and genuine dialogue between the business and its stakeholders, especially employees.

Our open, collaborative consultancy style can help major organizations re-frame for the 21st century. We understand – and sympathize with – how difficult change can be in any company, for the management as well as the employees. And yet, across many industries, the need for change and innovation is pressing.

As well as running a ‘holacratic’ business ourselves, we have extensive experience in helping clients define and implement values-based systems.


  • A values-based organization (VBO) is a living, breathing culture of shared core values among all employees.
  • This is different from the traditional organizational structure which employs a more machine-like, business approach that focuses on a command-and-control type management approach and/or rigid organizational structure.
  • A values-based organization is a culture shaped by a clear set of ground rules establishing a foundation and guiding principles for decision-making, actions and a sense of community.
  • In a values-driven culture, employees find alignment between their personal values and the organization’s values creating a more unified and better motivated workforce.
  • Management and leadership set examples for their organizations and live the values they embrace.
  • Strongly held value-systems rarely change yet remain flexible to handle changes in strategy or outside influences such as competition or the economy.
  • A strongly held values-based culture or purpose will remain more stable over time characterized by enhanced productivity and stronger employee commitment.


INPUTS: Internal Audit & Analysis

One-on-one interviews with C-Level Executive, SVP HR and senior client-facing staff in all the operating divisions in order to understand:

  • Key equities
  • Corporate goals
  • Differentiation
  • Culture
  • Understanding of Corporate Mission, Vision, Values
  • Organizational aspirations
  • Audit of all existing strategic positioning / mission-vision-value statements / employee communications


1. Key findings & conclusions from internal audit & analysis

2. Indicated actions for values-based organizational / culture design

3. Investigation of alternative organizational / cultural design architectures

4. Presentation of a number (typically 3) alternative organizational / cultural architectures

5. Internal Communications Messaging map



  • Corporate Strategic Positioning Statement
  • Value-based Organization Culture Architecture
  • Mission Statement: Concise explanation of the organization’s reason for existence, purpose and its overall intention.
  • Vision Statement: Looks forward and creates the ideal state the organization wishes to achieve. Should be inspirational and challenge employees
  • Values: lists the core principles that guide and direct the organization and its culture. In a values-based organization, they create a moral compass for the organization and its employees.


This guides decision-making and establishes a standard against which actions can be assessed. These core values are an internalized framework that is shared and acted on by Senior Management, best done leading by example

  • Values-in-Action Plan: Based on key strategic initiatives
  • Employee Engagement Plan / Content Development
  • Intranet Content
  • Communications from Senior Management to Employees / Shareholders
  • Employee Experience
  • Employee Communications
  • Employee Events