Barrett Values: Why we took the test | Learning & Development | Primeast

Ensuring the attitudes, ideals and aspirations of staff, customers and key partners are aligned to an organisation's purpose is one of the biggest challenges facing companies today, but it is a process that can deliver real rewards if done well.

The Barrett Values group carried out research at the beginning of the pandemic, they conducted the Global Covid-19 Culture Assessment to explore the shift in values as a result of the experience. And the results were very enlightening. They illustrated a definite shift towards the need for better communication, a sense of wanting strong connections to aid working together across new remote working patterns and the overarching theme of wellbeing, resilience and a searching for meaning.

For many organisations it has been important to take stock and review how we respond to the challenges that face all of us on a daily basis and in some cases realign ourselves to the purpose we serve in our professional and personal lives.

The Barrett Values Cultural Transformation Tool™ (CTT) gives us the opportunity to survey and check our own values both on a personal and wider organisational level. Leaders need to understand how to align their organisational culture to be able to achieve the vision and purpose and especially now, when purpose matters more than ever before. Primeast has worked with the Barrett Values group for a number of years and we have many accredited practitioners. Here we take a look back at how we used the CTT tool internally to identify opportunities to develop our culture further in service of our customers, partners and employees.

Sent out in February 2016, the Primeast Company Values Survey made use of the Barrett Values Centre's Cultural Transformation Tool™ (CTT) and it has helped us to create an in-depth understanding of the key attributes of all those we interact and engage with.

What is the Barrett Values Cultural Transformation Tool™ (CTT) and why is it so important?

Barrett Values Centre 7 levels diagram

Based upon the work of Abraham Maslow and his Hierarchy of Needs model in the 1943 paper 'A Theory of Human Motivation', the Barrett Values system takes the topmost level of this pyramid structure and splits it further into a number of distinct bands.

Created by founder of the Barrett Values Centre, Richard Barrett in 1997, the CTTs are an insightful measure of the differences in how a company perceives itself, the reality of the current situation and where it hopes to be in the future.

The 7 levels

Split into a further seven hierarchical bands, respondents taking part in the research are asked to identify a number of keywords that best represent their beliefs in each of these three categories. The results are then able to be interpreted to highlight key trends within attitudes and create an overall image of the beliefs that underpin key groups within any firm.

Mapping the values of an organisation enables the business to create a snapshot of its present culture, showcasing areas where improvements can be made and attitudes can be influenced to change for the better.

Creating a balanced business that sees employees and clients highlighting key attributes at all seven levels of the Barrett Values framework is the ideal. It is also something that everyone at Primeast is proud to say we are endeavouring to achieve.

What did we learn about Primeast and our clients?

Firstly, the results of Primeast's assessment were extremely reassuring for all involved with the business, from our in-office members of staff, through to our associates and facilitators around the world and right through to our key partners and clients.

Barrett Values Centre 7 levels diagram Current Values

One of the most important aspects of the findings was the fact that many of those associated with the business believe we are on the right track to deliver a lasting and beneficial impact not just for customers and clients, but for society in general. As a result, there is a strong feeling that the organisation should simply keep on doing what it is doing, but with increased vigour.

It was also extremely positive to see that the most common personal value demonstrated by respondents to the survey was that of 'integrity', while the current culture of the business was shown to be one of professionalism, customer-focused, collaborative and fun.

Barrett Values Centre 7 levels diagram Desired Values

Meanwhile, when examining the aspirations for where our staff and associates would like Primeast to be in the future, the key responses included 'developmental', 'continuously improving', 'learning' and 'deriving innovation'. Overall, the link between Primeast's current culture and our desired culture for the future was shown to be strong.

The survey also showed a low level of 'organisational entropy' at Primeast - the proportion of negative responses to the overall amount of data collated - and this bodes well for a positive performance in the years to come.

Know where you are now, to get where you want to be

The importance of understanding the current attitudes and ideals of both customers and staff is essential for business leaders who wish to effectively plan for the future and make progress towards towards achieving their vision and goals for any business.

Without this basic awareness of the current culture and attitudes within a company, how can leaders be expected to make positive changes and reinforce those areas that are working, while addressing any concerns that may be raised?

Indeed, business culture is one of those intangible qualities that can be hard to define, but by examining individual responses - all of which are provided anonymously - group responses and whole demographics, leaders are better able to pinpoint those key drivers of success within their company, as well as those issues that could be holding back the business from achieving its full potential. This is really the true value of these CTTs and the insight they can provide.

Fundamentally though, carrying out an assessment of this nature should not be viewed as an end in itself, as the results that it shows are only useful if they are taken as a starting point for further efforts to instigate change.

Understanding where every member of a business would like to see the company make progress and the ideals that they be should focused on achieving is an excellent tool in driving engagement and in helping to create a culture that is inclusive and representative of the true ideals of those at the heart of a business.

Here at Primeast we're pleased to see the results of the latest report, but it doesn't mean we'll be resting on our laurels moving forward. There are further insights to be gained from the data collected in these CTTs and we're committed to making sure our own individual values reflect our overriding ideals of being a positive force for change in the world.

And of course, like many organisations, we continue to keep our values front of mind especially with the challenges we've all been facing in the last year. Detailed data such as this allows you as leaders and as organisations to benchmark your performance to allow for adjustment in a shifting landscape. The last year has provided the opportunity to ensure we uphold our commitment to support our clients and maintain a focus on continuous learning, review and improvement of the service we provide to our clients. Some of this is illustrated in the portfolio and delivery development we've undergone over the last year - check out our Scaling Talent portfolio to find out more. And if, like many, you're seeing a shift in culture and behaviours as a result of the new ways of working, perhaps its time to take your own cultural health check. If you'd like to find out more about how we can help you do this, get in touch today.

Perhaps you would like to find out what's important to you by taking a Personal Values Assessment (PVA).

It is a simple survey that takes a few minutes of your time and provides a wealth of information about why you do what you do. Take the free PVA test by clicking this link

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About the Author


Gary Edwards

Gary has worked with Barrett Values for over 13 years as Director of Primeast, employing the Barrett Values suite of tools in culture and change management programmes for clients globally.

As one of the original founders of Primeast, Gary has always championed value-led leadership and supports organisations looking to build greater leadership alignment with the result on improved performance. For a conversation with Gary about we can work with you in creating and aligning culture and values to help you achieve your purpose, you can email him direct.

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