Finding the right values for your business is not an easy task, but I’m here to help.
This blog gives you practical and useful ways to find the right values for your business.
What makes a value right for your business?
Many organisations start with things like integrity and knowledge, but these aren’t unique to them. The key is to find words that are unique to your business and how you operate. A business that has people as it’s first value sits amongst literally hundreds and thousands of businesses who say the same thing. It’s not very exciting and or inspiring.
Are values just a few words on a mouse mat?
Many businesses stop with the words too. They find a list of words – often far too many words that no one is ever going to remember, and then stick them on a wall where everyone can see them, but forget to decide what that means to the business and what kinds of behaviours they expect which reflect those values.
This leaves the people in the business puzzled and confused about what the values mean to them.
Finding the right values in a few easy steps
Let’s take this one step at a time.
The first part of the process in finding the values in your business is to work out what’s unique about you and what you do.
Ask yourself and your team (no more than 12 people please, otherwise you get a mishmash of opinions) the following questions;
- What’s great about working here?
- What would our competitors be envious of?
- What are we brilliant at?
- If our business was a person, describe it’s personality
Write up the words and phrases on post it notes and stick them on a wall in groups under each question. Stand back and look at the themes that are appearing. You will notice certain words and phrases keep popping up and this is where you’ll find the core values of the business.
Choose three words.
Three is a great number (our business name has Tri in it because it’s such a strong number). Everyone can remember three words and buy into them.
Here are some examples:
Bold, Genius, Impactful – Tricres
Heritage, Challenging, Nurturing – Luxury, organic skin care
Creative, Exciting, Driven – Solicitors
Who would have thought a law firm could be creative, exciting and driven? And yet, when I ran this exercise with the firm, that’s exactly what the team came up with and it’s true. Their solution to the wills, trust and executory market is extremely creative and the pace they work at is incredibly exciting because they’re driven to provide an outstanding service to a UK market.
The luxury skin care manufacturer on the other hand are a family owned and run business in in the luxury, organic beauty industry. They’ve challenged the status quo in the beauty industry from the day they started and continue to do so and yet their history is firmly rooted in the ancient practice of gathering seaweed from the shores of the West Coast of Ireland. Their products are all about nurturing yourself and self care, whether that be at a luxury spa or in your own home.
How did these businesses go about finding the right values for them?
The businesses came to these words by answering the four questions and a bit of facilitation from me. They lived with them for a while and we worked on the associated behaviours with the words, giving the businesses a structure to work with when they recruit people to their teams and select suppliers and even clients.
Here’s what the table looks like when you’ve completed the exercise:
The supporting systems are about how you embed your values into your business. It takes time, energy and effort and the rewards are fantastic.
Here’s what happens;
- You attract and retain people that are right for your business
- You work with like minded suppliers making relationships easier
- You work with like minded clients and don’t waste time with people who don’t value what you do
All of this combines to more productivity, greater revenues and profit. Who said values were fluffy?