Breath of Clarity

Leadership for Environmental Managers Student-Generated Critical Questions

Original Post:

Throughout the course, we learned the importance of goal-setting based upon values. What are some strategies you would recommend to support a company in determining its values? How may each management level play a role in the process of a company determining its values? How do the company’s strengths and challenges come into play while determining its values?

Comment by Lisa Neuberger:

Hi Mary –

This is a really challenging question. Andy Jassy, Amazon’s CEO, recently spoke to the whole company (online, of course) and he outlined the company’s values. Two of the values really jumped out at me — and they speak to your questions. The first value is the company’s commitment to safety above all else. While the company gets bad press for safety issues, I’ve seen the real efforts that have been made to put safety first, including hiring more than 6000 safety professionals, ramping up safety programs, and listening to employee suggestions on safety improvements. Safety goes hand in hand with the next value Jassy outlined in his talk, which is the company’s new goal to becoming the world’s best employer. This goal includes improving working conditions for workers in the U.S. and around the world, better pay, better benefits, and a very real commitment to diversity and inclusion. In a sense, these values are a response to customer demands and the labor market. When there is a shortage of labor, you cannot skimp on safety, benefits, or pay. But I think the values are also driven by company leadership recognizing the importance of putting people first over all other considerations. The company’s strengths are that it has the resources to announce its values and follow through on the changes needed to uphold those values. The challenges are more external in that no matter what a big company does, it will always have its detractors.