Values first, then everything follows

What do your actions say about your values? A quote, a question and something of interest.

“I believe the real difference between success and failure in a corporation can very often be traced to the question of how well the organisation brings out the great energies and talents of its people. What does it do to help these people find a common cause with each other?… And how can it sustain this common cause and sense of direction through the many changes which take place from one generation to another?… I think the answer lies in the power of what we call beliefs and the appeal these beliefs have for its people… I firmly believe that any organisation, in order to survive and achieve success , must have a sound set of beliefs on which it premises all its policies and actions. Next, I believe that the most important single factor in corporate success is faithful adherence to those beliefs… beliefs must always come before policies, practices, and goals. The latter must always be altered if they are seen to violate fundamental beliefs.”


This is a quote from Thomas Watson, former CEO of IBM, made in the early 1960s. It may seem a bit quaint today, especially when you look at the actions of many companies and what they seem to say about their values.


But rather than go into a big list of corporate trangressions (which would be sadly too easy to do), I just want to leave the quote with you as something worth thinking about and a question – what do your actions say about your values?


See you next week!

Something of interest:

While CEO of IBM, Thomas Watson wrote the first “Equal Opportunity Policy Letter” – continuing a tradition of HR leadership that extended back to the founding of the company. What was particularly notible about this letter was that it was written before the landmark civil rights ruling of the US Supreme Court.



Alignment is Michel’s passion. Through her work with Brandology here in Australia, and Brand Alignment Group in the United States, she helps organisations align who they are, with what they do and say to build more authentic and sustainable brands.

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