Change management, Employer branding, Guidance
How to create a value profile and use it to change your company

Table of contents

Change management with the value profile

Whereby a value profile supports you: You want to initiate changes in your company; you are planning change management or a values-based transformation. You want to reshape the corporate culture. To do this, you need a precise picture of where your employees and your company currently stand, what is important to them – and what is needed to initiate the desired change. A value analysis is a useful tool here.
With such an analysis, you sensitize your employees to the topics of “corporate culture” and “values of the organization” and create acceptance for change processes. You receive an up-to-date picture of the current mood, which shows you which values are leading and which are less effective in your company. You identify strengths, areas of friction, blockages and discover possible courses of action.

The value profile

A value profile can be created for individuals, teams or even entire departments.
The Graves Values System Model (GVS) forms the psychological basis: in a multi-year study, psychology professor Clare W. Graves identified eight value clusters that describe what motivates people, how they think, how they judge things, what their beliefs and their basic attitudes are.

These eight value clusters are:

  1. Survival, color beige
    (Physical survival, instinctive action, satisfying primary needs).
  2. Identification, color purple
    (tradition, commitment, belonging, rituals).
  3. Power, color red
    (strength and energy, admiration and respect, conquering and defending territory, ego strength, rank and power).
  4. Order, color blue
    (stability, structure, clarity, discipline, status, order, honor and title).
  5. Power, color orange
    (success, challenge, competition, goal orientation, prosperity, profit).
  6. Community, color green
    (affection, sharing, harmony, humanity, team spirit).
  7. Synergy, color yellow
    (autonomy and freedom, overview, knowledge options, flexibility, information).
  8. Sustainability, color turquoise
    (global survival, sustainability, human equality).

In a development, an individual, a group or an entire society passes through these value clusters one after the other.
If you would like to find out more about the Graves Values System Model or the individual value systems, we invite you to read our articles on value management:

A value profile determines the extent to which the value clusters are represented in the individual, the team or the company. A value profile shows three perspectives on the respective value cluster:

  1. How much of this value system does the interviewee himself have?
    How important is the “order” cluster, for example, with its values of clarity, structure, adherence to rules, etc., to me?
  2. How strongly is this value perceived in the company/group?
    How strongly do I feel that this value cluster is practiced in the company?
  3. What does the interviewee think, how strongly should the respective value system be practiced in the company?
    How much of the “order” cluster do we need? More or less?
>> Read here:
“We already have well-founded personnel diagnostics”- Why well-founded is not always well-founded.

How the value profile can be collected

There are two methods that are used to create a value profile:

The ValueParty app

Each of the employees involved creates their own value profile with the help of the ValueParty app. This app is used to determine how important and how present the individual values are perceived to be. The result: the cumulative value profiles of the individual employees produce an electronic diagram – the value profile. These represent the culture of the organization, i.e. the values in the company, with seven times three bars. This means that each of the value systems mentioned above, e.g. community, success, power, etc., is represented in 3 bars:
1. the importance of the value system for the person(s) involved,
2. the extent to which the value is currently perceived in the company and
3. how strongly it should be practiced according to the respondents.

You can find out more about the ValueParty here.

The Value Party card game

The second way to create a value profile is the ValueParty card game. Together with your teammates, you can choose cards, discuss values or read up on what is meant by the individual value clusters. This allows you to create a value profile in a team workshop – without the additional preparatory work that an electronic questionnaire would entail.

We have gained excellent experience in tackling large-scale cultural development processes virtually. With the involvement of all employees, we work with virtual whiteboard tools to tackle the value-based transformation in the company:

>> Read here:

Company growth: Recognize in good time that you should act.

How does the electronic value profile work with the ValueParty app?

The electronic value profile is based on a scientific analysis that has investigated which individual values can be assigned to the value clusters. These individual values show different aspects of the respective value system. For example, the Order value cluster contains the following individual values: Law and justice, adherence to principles, discipline, sense of duty, clarity, higher justice, legitimate authority, absolute truth, clarity, expertise, obedience, stability, loyalty, control, perseverance, adherence to rules.

In this image you can see the individual values of the yellow cluster in the ValueParty app:

The value profile can be used to determine which value systems, but also which of the sub-values, are most strongly present in the team, which are desired and which are lacking. Finally, the profile with the three bars per cluster is obtained, which compares the actual state with the desired state. The greatest difference determines the current need for action and the procedure to be selected based on the current status. We will explain this in detail later.
In addition to the profile, the sub-values are prepared in rankings: The top ten most represented values and the top ten least represented values in the company, as well as those with the strongest momentum.

One example:
We created a value profile for a small company of 300 people. This company was growing: many teams had already grown considerably, many new people had joined, the management structures were no longer suitable and it was almost impossible to adapt the processes and rules. The company had become chaotic. No wonder, then, that the value profile indicated that the value that was very low in the company, but very much desired by the team for the future, was clarity.
As you can see, a value profile says a lot about the current situation in the company. With the information gained, we were able to work together in the workshop to determine where the team stands: How do we see our company right now? What is missing at this time – on a cultural level and overall? The value profile gave us a great opportunity to introduce change management in a targeted manner.

How does the Value Party with the ValueParty card game work?

The Value Party with the card game can be played with small groups of eight or more up to large groups of 1000 people. The deck has seven by 16 cards. These represent the seven value systems – identification, power, order, success, community, synergy and sustainability – each with 16 sub-values. The participants select cards. They can take their time to reflect on the values and their own attitudes towards them. In small or large groups, employees can discuss and agree on the values that are most practiced in the company, which they personally appreciate and which values they would like to see in the future of the company.
The participants then depict their values by throwing colored balls representing the seven core values into glass cylinders. Analogous to the electronic value profile, the three questions also form the basis here:

  1. What values are important to me personally in my work?
  2. Which values do I perceive particularly strongly in our company?
  3. What values do I think the company needs to be successful in the future?

The distribution of the balls across the glass cylinders – similar to a diagram – shows which values are represented to what extent and where there is a need for action.

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What the value profile says: How do you read the results?

After we have surveyed the employees electronically or via a value party, the individual perceptions of all team members are combined. According to the three questions, we have 3 bars for each of the seven basic values – by diagram or by balls in the glass cylinder. This shows how much the respective value is appreciated, how much it is present, how much it is desired. Depending on how strongly the three diagram bars are distributed within a value, different shapes result, which can be interpreted differently. This allows us to evaluate the results.

The U – Deficiency

The U – first bar high, second low, third high – is a shape that indicates a currently perceived deficiency.

One example:

To illustrate this with an example, let’s imagine the three bars in the “green/community” value system.

To find out what the value systems and their colors mean, read our article on the value systems and colors of the Graves Values System Model.

  1. If the first diagram bar in the green/community cluster is high, this indicates that the participants rate the importance of this value system highly: the individual respondents therefore consider the topics of consensus, team spirit, collaboration and cooperation at work to be very important, while the second bar shows the actual value, i.e. the situation in the company as the participants currently experience it.
  2. With a U, the second bar is significantly lower than the first. In our example in the green/community value area, a low second bar means that the participants perceive values such as cooperation and collaboration in the company only to a limited extent, while the third bar indicates which values the participants consider to be important for the future of the company.
  3. In the U, the third bar is high. In our Green/Community example, a high third bar shows the view that we need a lot of community values such as consensus, cooperation and collaboration in order to successfully shape the future together.

The three bars show very clearly where the squad currently stands. In most cases, the most pronounced Us are where a change is imminent, i.e. where the transition in a change process needs to be made.
So if – as in our example – the U is in green/community, then the value system in front of it – here it would be orange/performance – may be perceived as too much. As a consultant, I can see from this where the system is at the moment – e.g. in the transition from orange/performance to green/community. So I know that this is exactly the kind of change I should be making at the moment.

The peek (or stinky finger) print

Another form is the peek, also known as the stinky finger. It actually looks like a stinky finger – the first and third bars are low, the second, middle bar is high. Here it is exactly the opposite of a U: a peek is always a sign that pressure is being felt on this system by those involved. Let’s look at the distribution of the values: The first bar indicates that the respondents do not consider this value system to be important for them personally or even reject these values. The second bar is high: However, this system is perceived as very present in the company. The third bar is low again: the participants think that it would be better for the successful future of the company to live less by this value system.

Here is another example:

Peek in red/ power. Here the statement is that the participants experience the topics of assertion, power, struggle for rank and roles as rather unimportant or even unpleasant. Power and enforcement are strongly practiced in the company, but the team members do not believe that this will help the company in the future. On the contrary: in future, there should be significantly less power, enforcement and use of elbows.

The stairs down or up – Insight

The stairs up or down show that there is insight.
As an example, let’s take the stairs upwards – i.e. first bar low, second bar higher, third bar high – in the value orange/power.
The fact that the first bar is low means that the respondents do not rate the topics of competition, the struggle for success and goal orientation as particularly attractive to them personally. It is perceived as more prevalent in the company and the participants even assume that even more competition and profit orientation will be necessary in the future.

One example:

A typical situation for the stairway to the top would be that employees realize that they have not yet really caught up with the trend of the times.
They recognize that this demand comes from above or from the market, but that they cannot identify with it personally. They assume that this value is important for the future of the company and therefore have no resistance to it.

Let’s take another example:

the value yellow/flexibility.
Flexibility, synergy and networking are not yet particularly important to those surveyed. However, they realize that there is momentum in this direction within the company. When they think about the company a few years into the future, they realize that it should become more flexible; that loose structures, networking and synergies will be even more important for the company in the future.

The staircase can also go in the other direction – i.e. downwards. This means that those involved consider a value to be important that they feel is less important in the company than would be important to them personally, but assume that there should tend to be less of this value in the company in order to be successful.

>> Read here:
How a group becomes a team: The 5 phases of team development

Change work with the value profile

How you can work with the profile.
There are many different situations in which you can use the value profile. – It is an excellent way to start a culture change process or team development. By discussing their own values and the values of others, it is easier for those involved to talk about interpersonal issues or about the culture and dealings within the company; also about things that employees are not yet able to formulate correctly, but which they sense.
So if the topics of togetherness, cooperation, mood, atmosphere in the team or in the organization are to be made visible, then the value profile is a great starting point. It provides orientation about the current value landscape of the employees and about where the change process should go.

Clarity about the upcoming development steps and the best measures to accompany them.

The profile provides a very clear statement of where the company currently stands. And it shows where the employees think we should be heading. This provides information on which methods are best suited to picking up employees – the ideal way to start a change process.

One example:

Green/community is important to employees in a company. However, the company tends to be dominated by the value of blue/order, there are many rules, structures and clear processes. The employees feel that there should be more consensus. You could start at this point and pick up the employees with more green/community-oriented methods. These are, for example, team workshops or consensus dialogs. In this way, the topic of pressure can be addressed through rules. Questions could be:

  • What are the rules that torment me the most.
  • What bothers us the most?
  • What is holding us back?
  • Where do we need to take the pressure and order out?
  • Where should agreements be handled more loosely?
  • Where should processes be more relaxed?
  • Where should more consensus be introduced?
    This allows you to talk about the content using methods that employees are comfortable with, that they understand and that they are strong in – in this case, collaborative methods.
Another example:

The strength of a company’s employees is blue/order and structure. Clear rules and processes are adhered to. The employees say that the company needs more orange/competition and a focus on success. Here, too, we apply the methods in which the employees are strong – i.e. order and structures. For example, you could set up rules for success generation with the employees to create the transition from blue to orange.
With this reading, suitable methods can be found to reshape the future together with employees.

To summarize:

The value profile is a highly effective tool for starting and supporting cultural change. Many trainers are already using it.

Incidentally, the card game Valueparty is a tool that was invented, developed and produced by the Berlin team. It can be obtained from us.

The authors

Oliver Grätsch
Michelle 550
Michelle Templin
Christian Grätsch
Matthias Beikert
Susanne Grätsch
Monika Bt 550x550
Monika Steininger
Kai Hübner
Philipp Andresen 500x550
Philipp Andresen
Anna Isabell Arendt
Dr. Claudia Schmidt
Inga Kühn
Kassandra Knebel
Claudia Lehmann
Komplettes Team
Berliner Team