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July 27, 2011

PRSA Chair Offers Guidance on Communicating Corporate Values in Harvard Business Review Op-Ed

Writing in the Harvard Business Review, PRSA Chair and CEO Rosanna M. Fiske, APR, offers practical guidance for business leaders on how they can successfully communicate their company's values. Fiske says that "businesses communicate a lot of things. ... But often missing from a firm's communications is something absolutely fundamental to its operations: its values."

Fiske also advocates four core components CEOs need to consider when trying to successfully communicate their company's values:
  • Ask employees what is important to them.
  • Establish core values across the company, not just within management.
  • Develop a values communications plan. 
  • Live your values.

The Business of Communicating Values
Rosanna M. Fiske, APR
Harvard Business Review
Published: July 26, 2011

Businesses communicate a lot of things. Many love to boast when their revenues soar, or publicize the strategic restructuring of their organizational response committees (whatever that means). But often missing from a firm's communications is something absolutely fundamental to its operations: its values.

If a company doesn't take the time and effort to communicate its values in a meaningful way, then it's like the old tree-falling-in-the-forest cliché: It makes a big splash, but no one is around to appreciate its impact.

I was reminded of this while reading David Rock's "The Business of Values" here on Rock outlines three common approaches to how business schools teach corporate values: values as ethics; identifying a set of universal values; and the recognition of values. He concludes, resolutely, that it "may be time to take the whole business of values, and the values of our businesses, a lot more seriously."

Recent high-profile scandals and crises have made it clear that many businesses do not properly or openly communicate their values. That has direct and indirect effects on the economy, which is made all the worse by rising fears of a double-dip recession and angst over the state of global markets.

Read the full op-ed in the Harvard Business Review.

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