Once you’ve established a set of meaningful values, you still need to regularly put them to use in order to see value. That means referencing them when you make decisions (“We shouldn’t work on this because we need to optimize for impact” or “We can’t ship this without a monitoring strategy – we need to keep our customer’s trust, and we can’t do that if we don’t know when things break”). It also means rewarding behaviors that align with our values. At the company level, Kustomer monthly recognizes an employee who embodies our “Don’t just talk about it, be about it” value with a DJTAIBAI award. I’ve seen other companies experiment with “micro-awards” where employees have a budget for sending other employees rewards that get tied to their values. This also can work into your normal processes of evaluation and recognition by emphasizing behavior that aligns or deviates from values in performance reviews and 1-1 coaching. The more the values get talked about and rewarded as expected behavior, the more they have the power to scale culture.
Values are a tool for naming the culture you want to have and starting to iterate to it. They don’t guarantee that you’ll get there, and if the values you list aren’t already a meaningful reality for at least part of your company, they’re probably not going to transform your team. But they can help you scale what you have as you grow, and they can help set a bar that will open the path to the difficult conversations needed when things need to change.