How to Bring Values to Life in Your Business

What matters to us? One way of answering that question is through the lens of values, which have a powerful influence on our attitudes and behaviours. Yet it can be difficult for businesses to realize the true potential of values, which is to engage staff, customers and suppliers in an emotional way that touches on their own core motivations.

Drawing on a range of case studies worldwide, including “profit with purpose” businesses such as co-operatives, this short guide reveals how to make a success of values. By unpacking what we mean by values and ethics, and setting out a series of practical approaches, Ed Mayo presents how values can become a natural part of commercial life. This book identifies both the pitfalls and the potential of bringing values into the heart of an organization, from a bank that responds to an ethical crisis to a fast-growing worker co-operative founded on the values of equality.

The values that guide your business are not necessarily the ones that are written down, or that you would expect. There is no one right or wrong set of values, but there is power and potential in making the most of the values that are right for the business you are in. By reading Values: How to Bring Values to Life in Your Business, you will find out more about the business that you are, and the business that you could be.

This is why “Values - how to bring values to life in your business” by Ed Mayo (Greenleaf Publishing)” is so timely and a ‘must read’ for leaders and influencers in every sector. As one might expect from any book that has been typed on Ed’s keyboard, the phrases quite literally ‘shout out’ at the reader, and makes her or him pause and question their own value set. And more importantly, how far they live up to the values they would claim to hold. Ed’s own values and commitment to a value based world come across strongly and are thankfully contagious.



The Huffington Post John Tizard

In his new book on values and business leadership, Ed Mayo, the Secretary-General of Cooperatives UK and former head of the New Economics Foundation, shows why values should not be treated as a public relations gloss, but ought to be integrated into every enterprise as the main driving force….

Alas, even for those who believe that values are important in business, there is all often too big a gap between aspiration and action. But Mayo’s book has a few handy tips to bridge it. The one on testing the empathy of potential recruits is particularly pertinent as values have to be advanced by everyone in an enterprise. To succeed, a values-driven business must be sustained by people who care about improving the lives of others.

Question the Powerful on 1 Mar 2017 Henry Tam

Never has there been a greater need for this excellent practical guide to the benefits – and pitfalls – of embracing and living the right values in commercial life.

Brian Groom, former Business Editor, Financial Times

This fresh and uplifting guide to bringing values to life will be essential reading for every business and every co-operative.

Monique Leroux, President, International Co-operative Alliance

Ed Mayo has played a leading role in almost every environmental and ethical business initiative over the last two decades.

Lucy Siegle, Observer

Values challenge us. We must understand how they work in different contexts and organizational forms. This engaging practical guide brings together important research and examples to give you the tools to make values work in your business.

Hanan El-Youssef, Director of Strategy, International Co-operative Alliance



1. What are values? 

2. Organising values 

3. How do values play out in business? 

4. Co-operatives as a test-case of values in action 

5. Values and purpose 

6. Getting going on values 

7. Five tools for values 

8. The Values Checklist 

Appendix 1: Key Definitions 

Notes and references 

ED MAYO is Secretary General at Co-operatives UK which develops and promotes member-owned enterprises. He is the co-author of Co-operative Advantage, as well as previous books on marketing, banking and micro-finance.

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