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Posted on Jun 22, 2018

7 Best Definitions of Respect in Business

7 Best Definitions of Respect in Business

Respect is the second most common value (after Integrity) expected in every business today. But what exactly does it mean? How do you describe this value in a way that everyone associated with a company can understand?

Based on my extensive research of values across Fortune 500 companies (using 2013 data), that have spent millions of dollars over the years identifying and refining the wording of their values, here are 7 of the best, most succinct definitions of Respect in business.

  1. Don’t hurt anyone. Delta Air Lines has the most succinct definition of the value of Respect. It’s one of the company’s five values listed in their Rules of the Road document.
  2. The way we treat each other; the way we treat those we serve. Under the label ‘Mutual Respect’, Express Scripts nicely describes this value as one of three elements of who they are.
  3. Treat all people with dignity and value the collective power of teamwork. This is how Air Products defined the value of Respect in 2013. But today the company has replaced their list of six values with four different terms defining their ‘Roadmap’.
  4. Demonstrate high regard for clients, one another, partners and regulatory obligations. This is the essence of how TIAA described this value in 2014. But they have since replaced their original four values with six values, removing Respect from this list. My guess is they feel respect is included in the new “Value Our People” but none of the new definitions make mention of this term.
  5. Believe in the importance of all of stakeholders; and value the ideas and beliefs of co-workers. This is the essence of how Norfolk Southern defines the value of Respect. It’s one of five values at the company made easy for all to understand as outlined in their SPIRIT poster.
  6. Creating trusted and enduring relationships with customers, colleagues and communities to achieve mutual goals. This is how Ingredion describes how the value of Respect will help them succeed. It’s one of six values the company has embraced for many years and still promotes.
  7. Valuing differences and allowing others to express themselves in order to work together toward common goals make the company stronger. This is how Nationwide used to define this value. While the company has maintained its four core values and six performance values, it has reduced the definition of respect to simply “We trust and respect each other.”

Which one resonates the most with your team? Feel free to use it.

Based on the investments made by these companies to define the value of Respect, I encourage you to adopt or adapt one ore more of these 7 definitions. No need to reinvent the wheel. Even though some of these companies have changed their values (that’s a separate topic), I’m convinced these are the best definitions.

Now, go and apply your full energy to discovering your differentiating values!