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Understanding Workplace Values

The role Georgia Tech’s values play in learning and developing in the workplace

In Fall 2020, Georgia Tech introduced a new 10-year strategic plan, grounded in a new mission statement and nine strategic values. In his annual Institute Address, President Ángel Cabrera said, “The mission and the values are not just words on paper. They describe who we are and who we aspire to be every day.” 

As Georgia Tech seeks to advance its values, a new campaign called Living Our Values Every Day (L.O.V.E. GT) was kicked off earlier this year to help the entire community bring these values to life in tangible ways while fulfilling the objectives outlined in the strategic plan. 

As a team with a direct connection to the Institute’s values, Workplace Learning & Professional Development takes a novel approach to the role these values play in our behaviors, relationships, and motivations. To that end, they have created a series of opinion-based podcasts to dig deeper into each of these values while providing insights to consider, ideas to ponder, and skills that can be immediately used to grow your professional and personal development. 

In the first episode, LaTrese Ferguson, manager of WLPD; Yvette Francis, senior training generalist; Bryan Harber, training generalist; and Rachel Watts, senior training generalist, discuss how having organizational values -- and the behaviors associated with them -- help to ground the work we do in advancing Georgia Tech’s mission. 

Here are some highlights from their conversation: 

Values serve as a common language we can all speak. [5:30] 
Gathering behind a set of values underscores what we do at Georgia Tech in terms of performance, the way we interact with one another, the decisions that we make, and the culture we want to create. These collective values then ultimately impact our students, mission, and vision while guiding how we operate and interact with one another. 

While values serve as guideposts, it’s up to the community to implement them and ensure they make a recognizable impact. [9:15] 
Values only truly become valuable when they’re lifted off the wall and enacted daily by every member of the Georgia Tech community – student, faculty, staff, alumnus, and affiliate. To understand how to live, lead, and executive our values, it will be important to have regular discussions with your team, department, or unit, to give cohesive meaning to your specific role and job. 

Values don’t become the linchpin of an organization unless there is a sense of psychological safety. [16:30] 
While espoused values are the aspiration of an organization, they don’t always translate perfectly into practice, which can lead to misalignment. For values to be effective, we must have the freedom and tools to counteract behaviors exhibited by our peers and colleagues that are incongruent to our values -- personally and organizationally. 

We should let values be our interruption, creating the type of culture we want to see and be a part of at Georgia Tech. [31:00] 
Often in times of high stress, we may show up in places a little less, which can lead to incongruence. Our values provide tangible resources for measurement and an opportunity to pause and reflect on our behaviors, actions, and attitudes.

 

 

As the Institute’s partner in faculty and staff professional development, the Workplace Learning & Professional Development (WLPD) team is committed to supporting campus learners. Whether exploring a leadership mindset, seeking professional partnerships, or embracing values congruence, WLPD’s offerings facilitate the development of your professional learning goals and add value to your career at Georgia Tech. Want to receive customized learning content, news, and updates straight to your inbox each month? Join our mailing list