By Tom Ambler, Senior Consultant

Strategic Planning Expert

Strategic Planning Expert

Note:  This article is part of a series taken from Thomas E. Ambler’s article The Strategic Value of  Values originally published in Compass Points in April 2002.  In Part 1, we introduced the series.  In Part 2, we discussed Values’ Value.  In Part 3, we discussed Market Value.  In this post we will discuss Internal Value.

Internal Value

Now, how about the internal operation and culture of an organization? Can we logically support the assertion that Values cause success there too?

Nowhere are relationships more important than in the internal workings of an organization. Unity in those relationships is crucial for fostering the synergistic cooperation that produces high performance. Colonial theologian Jonathan Edwards’ statement, “one alone is nothing” rings true. Creating unity in a team is a crucial leadership function. It depends heavily on shared Values as well as shared vision. Cultures attract leaders with like Values and Leaders attract followers with like Values and, thus, build strong cultures based on shared Values. This implies that even strategic alignment, which we know causes success, is dependent on Values alignment.

Values-driven organizations win because they utilize leadership power properly. As Covey points out in Principle-Centered Leadership, power in an organization has three forms that lead to different results:

  • Coercive Power – based on the fear that the leader can do harm to the follower; promotes ultra-reactivity among followers;
  • Utility Power – based on leader and follower each offering something of value to the other; tends to foster individuality and situational ethics on the part of followers; still tends toward follower reactivity;
  • Principle-centered (Values-centered) Power – based on the trust and respect earned by the leader over time; results in high follower proactivity.

So Values-driven leaders enjoy more power and greater follower productivity, loyalty and teamwork. That permits them to implement more effectively the changes demanded by their strategies. Paraphrasing Covey–“the ability to make change is limited unless the leaders driving the change are secure in their Values, and their Values are fundamental values that do not change and are, therefore, not challenged by the change.”

Clearly, a focus on shared Values causes long-term success. This conclusion should not come as any surprise. After all we have on supreme authority that, “if we set our hearts first on God’s rule and His goodness, we will receive the material things we spend so much time and energy worrying about – He already knows we need them.” (Paraphrase of Matthew 6:31-33)

Hopefully, everything we have covered to this point motivates you to make sure your organization has a well-defined set of Values at its core and is consistently living them out everywhere. Two related questions beg to be addressed.

  1. What process should you use to clearly define your Values and recognize them in your strategic planning?
  2. How can you achieve alignment with the Values throughout the organization?

The next topic in this series will be Defining Your Values.

For information on how to take your strategic planning to the next level, please listen to our webinar: Why Isn’t My Strategic Planning Working?

© Copyright 2016 by Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI — Reprint permission granted with full attribution.

Tom Ambler is a Senior Consultant with Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc. He can be reached by email at

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