I tell my CEO executive coaching clients, prior to the executive offsite, that the CEO can dictate the values statement, perhaps with some team input on word choice. If the organization’s stated values are not entirely consistent with the CEO’s personal values you are in for a rough ride. The CEO must embody and have an emotional commitment to the vision, so it largely comes directly out of him or her, too. I like to start the offsite at a dinner where the CEO clearly and emotionally states the values and vision. Then, with those guideposts, the team can get to work on strategy, tactics, milestones, etc.

A question naturally emerges when I suggest this sequence: what about the executives who do not share the CEO’s values or vision? This helps smoke them out early and by “out,” I mean resigning from the company. Any compromise on values is a step into the abyss, what Bion called “non-work.”