One of the main reasons I love owning my own business is the freedom it gives me to conduct my business life in congruence with my value system. For example, honestly is a core value I live by and, in turn, a value that is expected within my company.
If a value is true for a company, it is non-negotiable. Unfortunately, claims of certain values are often not true. Because there is truth in all humor, this video clip from the movie Knocked Up, where Kristin Wiig’s character says, “This is Hollywood, we don’t like liars” is so hilarious.
Many companies share, or at least claim, a short list of common values. What is uniquely true to your company? I created a list of the most common words I see in companies value statements below. Although all honorable, it would be difficult for a company to truly live consistently by all these values.
On your values discovery mission, it is important to narrow down the two or three factors that define the core of your company’s values system. You have to choose. Review the list below and consider, what am I willing to sacrifice?
What do we deliver?
- Examples: Quality, Accountability, Results, Profits, Growth, Efficiency
How do we treat the customers?
- Examples: Relationships, Listening, Humble, Service, Support, Listening, Empathy
How do we operate as a team?
- Examples: Learning, Growth, Diversity, Respect
What is our mode of operation?
- Examples: Discipline, Passion, Energy, Diligence, Perseverance, Integrity, Honesty
How are we changing the world?
- Examples: Innovation, Creativity
How do we give back?
- Examples: Giving, World Impact, Community Service
What kind of culture do we nurture?
- Examples: Fun, Serious, Positive, Family, Open, Hard working
Now that you have an idea of what your core values are, I offer four questions we ask our clients in our branding sessions. These questions force some deep thinking and sacrifice the me-too and not-true values.
- Does this value mean so much to you that you would temporarily lose money before you would sacrifice it?
- Would you fire someone for violating the value?
- Do people that do not embody this value hate working for your company?
- Do people that embody this value feel loyalty to the company based on this common value?
Take your company’s current values statement and run this four-question test. How does your values statement hold up to reality? As you consider your values remember that nobody likes a liar.