Corporate values: stop the bullshit

valeurs d'entreprise

Your situation:

1 year already that you are trying to raise funds, and not a serious investor on the horizon. The situation is worrying, because your working capital is slowing down, your development and your competitors are going faster than you. 

One fine day, a renowned investor calls you, he is interested in your business. But before starting the discussions, he asks you a question that leaves you speechless: "What are your values? ».

You desperately scroll your website and mumble the values described there "excellence, quality, customer satisfaction".  He cuts you off "no, come on, I want to know who you really are! ", before adding "and it is on this basis that I will invest or not". Gasp.



Recent studies on systemic have proven that a company, as a group of humans, has the same functioning as a living organism. It therefore also has a genetic code, a unique DNA that differentiates it from any other company.

And this genetic code - which forms the basis of its corporate culture - is first and foremost its values. Its TRUE values.


True corporate values, the core of your organization's DNA, should have the following characteristics:


-Natural: they are not chosen or decreed, they can only be observed. They emanate naturally from the collective, impose themselves.


-Applicable to the whole company: they must be able to be found and translated at all levels of the company and in all its functions.


-Stable: even though the organization may change shape (grow, change market, change name, etc.), its values are deeply anchored and evolve little or slowly.


Putting an end to schizophrenia


Most companies mix up two types of values:

-Aspirational values (what we would like to be), which they display and proclaim.

-Organizational values (what we are, our everyday guiding principles), which everyone lives internally.

The DNA of the company is made up of ORGANIZATIONAL values.

valeurs d'entreprise - schizophrenie

A large majority of companies display values that have nothing to do with daily life or internal practices. The result is this : lost and disillusioned employees.

Because either an employee naturally shares organizational values and will flourish, or he or she does not share them - he or she is not "compatible" - and will have never fully integrate. Or turn schizophrenic. True corporate values must therefore reflect reality

...without falling into hypocrisy.


Companies often do not display their true personality

Getting to know yourself isn't always easy. So most companies have basic values that everyone uses. 

This is the top 10... common to most large companies:


2.Team spirit




6.Customer Satisfaction





Think about your receptionist, the delivery man, the storekeeper: do these values really speak to them and do they represent their daily reality? And how are they specific to your organization?


A real value must check these 5 boxes (otherwise it's bullshit)


-Is independent of the activity, market, size, etc., of the company.

-Is shared and experienced on a daily basis by a large part of the employees.

-Generates a wave of indignation when it is transgressed.

-Is defended even if it becomes a competitive disadvantage for the company.

-Has a concrete translation into behavior at all levels.


Harmonious implementation

It is essential for your company to know who you really are, what are your organizational values. This means identifying what emerges of the values of your people.

For this, 5 steps to follow: valeurs entreprise

  1. The origins:

Start with the founder(s) and leader(s) and their value system, which are known to have a significant influence on corporate values, by asking each of them questions such as:

To discover them:

-What principles guide your decisions?

-What values do you admire in your employees?

-What behaviors do you find totally unacceptable? 

-What values do you associate them with?


To select them :

-What are the values for which, in case of transgression, you would be ready to lose a customer or a successful employee?

-What are the values that you would defend if you were prejudice by it?


  1. The common points:

Carry out a synthesis work (in a small and diversified committee) to extract the common values - checking that they tick the 5 boxes mentioned above.

  1. The reality on the ground:

Do the same exercise at different levels and in as many different departments as possible.

  1. The crash test:

Test the synthesis of these corporate values as widely as possible by asking:

-What does each of these values mean to you?

-Do you live these values on a daily basis?

-How do you translate them into concrete actions and behaviors?


  1. Synthesis:

Draw (collectively) the 3-5 common values with the most concrete translation possible for each value.

Assume the waves.

Displaying your true corporate values is some kind of a coming-out, it doesn't leave you indifferent. It will force people in your ecosystem to position themselves.

Clients, partners, investors or candidates who recognize themselves in these values will naturally be attracted and loyal, the others will naturally tend to distance themselves... But is this a bad thing, both for the company and for them?


The authenticity of your identity leads to a smooth selection of your partners and employees, and gradually generates a real cohesion.


Values are the cement of your company, allowing it to pass from the sum to the group.


Once this work is done, your company will be much "sharper", releasing extraordinary energies. You will thus enjoy a magnet-like attraction of compatible partners and a similar rejection for those who are not compatible. You can't please everyone...


Are you ready to make the coming-out of your corporate culture?

valeurs entreprise