What do you stand for? Your values should guide you and shape the organization’s standards, beliefs, behaviors, expectations, and motivations. A brand must consistently deliver each value.
Foundation of Values
A set of core organizational values can establish a set of workplace norms and practices, set aspirational goals for people, describe how people should behave, describe to customers what they can expect, guide daily decision-making of employees and define the culture.
A few things about values:
- They’re personal – you don’t have to defend or apologize for what you hold valuable. You really are a unique snowflake, millennial or not.
- They’re fun – knowing what you find valuable in life and business is fun, it’s what life is all about, so don’t overthink it.
- They change – you literally can’t not change as you spend more time on this earth, so don’t hold onto values just because you once held them dear. If it doesn’t serve you anymore, adjust and move on.
- They create culture – organizational culture is created by values, individual and company.
- They are specific and intentional – this is how you create the backbone and foundation of your business ‘why.’
- They aren’t all inclusive of everything – your values aren’t everything about you or your business, but rather the majority in terms of importance.
A lack of values can create a lack of alignment, vision, accountability, structure, strategy, scalability and frankly, joy. If you value having a lot of space for your family in your car, you wouldn’t value a convertible! Knowing what you want is just as important as knowing what you don’t, and that applies to values 100%.
Defining Your Values
As StringCan CEO Jay Feitlinger says, “Think of your company values as your company’s DNA and what separates you from the competition in your space. Your values reflect your business beliefs, principles, and decisions that define who your company is.”
StringCan Core Values:
Defining your values simply starts with defining what is important to you. One of our values is to be empathetic to our clients and their challenges. Our value states “Walk-in Clients’ and Their Customers’ Shoes,” which means to think from their perspective and the client’s customer. What better way to be able to empathize with your clients?
A three-step process to defining your core values is:
- What is important to you: start with a list of attributes and pick 10 that stick out to you. Tip: do not overthink. I repeat, don’t overthink.
- Compare them side by side picking the one you prefer until you have 5.
- Document, define, and share them!
It’s ok to seek feedback too, especially in an organization. With new team members, I love having the values conversations to share the ‘why’ behind them, my experiences that helped define them, and their interpretation. In fact, our value Bring Solutions, Not Problems is not to be taken literally! It’s ok to have problems with no solution, just bring what you’ve tried to the table and we work through it together.
Here are a few companies with well written values:
Adobe is a tech-leader and they have thrived in no small part due to their values and leadership.
They employ thousands of people and are a leader in community and quality.
With a unique plan, and excellent service, Airbnb is committed to their values.
I’d love to hear what your top value is at your organization and why.