The Importance of Core Company Values during Uncertain Times

Environmental, Social Responsibilities and Governance are increasingly important in the corporate world. What does this mean in practice? What are your company values?

 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been reading even more than usual lately – another unexpected benefit of being quarantined. There’s lots of great of information and content out there to absorb.

One of the concepts I’ve been reading more about during this time is the idea of Environment, Social and Governance, or ESG. You will have heard of this already; it’s been an increased focus in the past few years as transparency and corporate governance becomes more important to company shareholders than ever and can therefore have a big impact on a company’s value.

ESG relates to things like the company’s impact on the environment, its relationship to the community and other companies, its governance structure and its internal workings such as its relationships to employees and shareholders.

As the Governance Institute of Australia says, “there is a related push for companies to ensure they retain their ‘social licence’ in an environment of declining institutional trust”. Nasdaq even has a guide to help companies report on ESG.

In this context, I was encouraged to think further about social and environmental responsibility at Leading Edge Life Skills, and how we stick to the principles we form for our own organisation. We’re not a listed company ourselves, but many of our clients are, and in any case I think it’s a great concept for us all to adhere to.

Here are some thoughts about our own company values – and we’ve included a mini survey at the end to get you thinking about yours…

Integrity, quality, responsibility

When we first started Leading Edge Life Skills, it was important to me to build a business with standards. While it’s obvious we need levels of care when working with living creatures like horses, it goes beyond that. Not everyone with a horse can suddenly start running professional or personal development programmes using Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) techniques.

So, I was happy to train with  Equine Connection Canada, a world leader in the field of EAL, who have been operating for over 10 years. I obtained my qualifications firstly as an EAL facilitator and later to partner with them as trainer accrediting new facilitators down under. 

They have great values: integrity, quality and responsibility. These values mean we operate under a consistent and uncompromising code of ethics, have a responsibility to deliver quality programs and look after the safety and welfare of all horses, participants and facilitators as well as guarantee a quality of service.

Living up to our motto

If you’re following Leading Edge Life Skills, you’ll soon see our new website launching, which highlights our core values: confidence, consciousness and compassion.

We’re really proud that these values are embodied in all the programmes we run, whether it is for our emerging leaders, women in leadership or team development programmes.

  • Confidence is about self-esteem, leadership and having trust in ourselves and others.
  • Consciousness is about our level of self-awareness and our awareness of those around us.
  • Compassion is about respect, acceptance and empathy, the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes.

 

These not only embody our business values, but the skills our clients develop through working with our horses. A focus on our core values enables us to successfully work with the many different personality types and leadership styles in any client group to achieve their own team objectives.  

This is particularly true in the face of COVID-19, to which everyone is responding in their own way. As my colleague and mentor, Schelli Whitehouse, eloquently said:, “It’s like we’re all in the same storm but in different boats”, which I think sums it up perfectly.

Putting it into practice

Speaking of weathering the storm, we have had to re-evaluate our business in the context of social distancing. And while our programmes are based on experiential learning with horses, the theory behind them and the life skills developed can be successfully translated in an online environment. 

So, we’re going online! We will be running the theory component of our facilitator training course online as Live Virtual Training, so you can complete the theory now and consolidate your learning with the physical face-to-face component later in the year.

An organisation’s values make up its core and culture. We’d love to hear about yours!

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