We have probably all had an encounter with a business who are very proud of the values that they aspire to, but in reality, the gap between the aspiration and the values themselves are huge.
I can think of a few examples whereby the owner or board of Directors thought the company was one thing, yet ask the guys on the ground who are interacting with customers as part of their role, and they will tell you another story.
Culture is ultimately the thing that you want to create, and carve with culture being ‘The way that things are done around here’.
But how do you change or create a high performing culture?
Well that is easier said than done, and I again have witnessed culture change initiatives fail spectacularly, but you need to start somewhere.
A couple of things will help.
Having a leader, who leads by example and fully embodies the culture and values of the company. They will live it and breath it and show others the way. They will also pick the people up, who do not follow the values.
That’s one approach.
The other thing that is required alongside this is having a clear set of values.
Why are values important?
They are something to reflect upon when making decisions and interactions.
They are your companies DNA, it is how you operate.
They are what you stand for.
They motivate and encourage our employees and customers.
So where do you start?
Your company values are the beliefs, philosophies, and principles that drive your business.
So start by examining them on your own first of all, and try to come up with a list of 10 things.
From that list of 10 things, work with your team and if possible wider stakeholders to come up with examples of why and how those things are important, and how they are embodied in your work and actions.
Then take that list of 10 things and work together to whittle it down to a manageable size, a list that everyone can remember. You may want to try and half it down to 5. Work with people across your business, not just the normal senior people that you would turn to, you need to get a representative team together to finalise and agree with the list.
An example of such a list could be:
Focus on Impact
Build Social Value
The list above is actually Facebook’s.
As mentioned above this list is no good unless you can come up with a series of examples alongside each value to ensure that you are embodying and living the value.
If you cant come up with several examples fairly easily for each then is it really a value you are going to live and be true to?
This is not rocket science but it is the first step in determining a road map towards achieving a culture that you and your colleagues and customers can be proud of.
Ultimately if you are true to a strong set of values, then it will embody itself alongside the success of your business, and more than likely it will play a part in creating that success.
Next week we will have a look at values and culture a little more.
Now more than ever you need to focus on what makes you strong as a business, and getting your values nailed down to a mast, and then living by them is one way to make you stand above your competitors.
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