Values are often used to communicate a brand’s beliefs, inspire employees, attract talent, and inform culture…and every company should have a set of values. However, not all values are created equal. The strategy you take when creating values will determine the extent to which they will be practiced, help your business grow, and benefit your culture.
Make values a roadmap for action
Creating a set of values takes time, energy, and resources. In order to maximize your efforts, be sure to use your values as a framework for your team’s actions and decisions. The most effective values impact your team on a daily basis. Imagine your team members making daily decisions based on your values. Imagine if they could look to your values to guide their interactions with your customers and each other. Wouldn’t it be nice to empower your team and give them a framework for freedom?
Your team will more quickly embody your values when the values influence daily decisions. If they are simply statements on a wall or unattainable promises, they won’t seep into your culture they way you may hope.
Tie Values to Metrics that Matter
When your team is empowered to make value-based decisions, it’s critical to connect them to metrics which sustain your business.
I can appreciate the introspection needed to create good values, but the best internal work has real-world application.
Think through the business implications of each person practicing your values. Without talking about numbers, your values can embed profitable decision making and actions into every employee in your company.
Ask these four questions:
“If every employee operated by my values without management direction…
Would the company survive?”
Would the culture be healthy?”
Would the brand be lived out?”
Would this team be able to make profitable decisions?”
If you can’t answer ‘yes’ to each of these questions, then you may need to look at adjusting your current values. If you haven’t written values, use these questions as a guide. This isn’t about adding numbers into your values. It’s about taking the time to discern the core actions and way-of-being which will most benefit your business.
Build Momentum by Connecting the Cycle
Everybody wins when aligned beliefs and actions create profitability. It creates a sense of momentum, wholeness, security, and cohesion. When healthy culture reinforces collective success, employees will engage like never before….which affirms the investment into culture. I call this positive chain of events a ‘generous cycle’. This is where one initial positive action or behavior leads to another, which leads to another, which leads to reinforcing the positive behavior/action which started it all.
Here’s an example of a generous cycle I experienced personally: A few years ago I started working out at 5:30 in the morning with a group of friends. At first, it was really difficult to get out of bed and I did not want to go. But once I started seeing results, I started eating healthier. The shared experience caused my relationship with the guys to deepen. The friendship made us all want to go work out at 5:30 in the morning…even on the weekends!
Where do you see generous cycles in your life or business? What would be your first step towards creating more? Do your company’s values, culture, and brand create a generous cycle? Where is your brand loop broken, slowing down valuable momentum and causing disconnect? Identifying these things takes work, but will pay off time and time again!