Are values recognisable? Fortunately, yes. One helpful resource on this is Ed Schein’s book “The Corporate Culture Survival Guide”. There’s a few simple things you can do to unearth an organisation’s (or your own) values.
The first is to analyse common sayings and phrases within the organisation. One example is when new ideas are greeted with, “We’ve never done it that way!”. To me that shrieks conservatism and caution. Notice what phrases are used often in meetings and conversations. Then think about what value they transport. Pretty soon you have a basic list of the organisation’s lived values.
Another help to identifying values is to think about favourite policies and procedures. Do they point towards quality, safety, consistency or independence?
A third help is to consider a list of values I’ve put together and see which ones resonate with you or how you experience your organisation: