Values (done well,) will help any organisation build a stronger rapport with their customers, improve relationships with employees, help win new contracts, provide guidance to all types of leaders and so much more…
Over the years, we’ve worked with a number of different companies to help them create values – management teams, sales teams, development teams, admin staff, etc.
We’ve done it all, from interviewing highly engaged people who would talk to us all day, those who take ‘values’ very seriously, to talking to some who can’t really get away quickly enough.
What we’ve found is that ‘getting buy-in’ for values is every bit as important as ‘creating-them’ in the first place.
Here are a few different ways to make that happen…
Engage Everybody, Absolutely Everybody
’Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.’
Everybody should be heard. It’s just so brilliantly useful in so many ways. For a start, it’s an act of good will to everybody in the company, it demonstrates that you do care and you genuinely want to hear more about what they think about the business, you’ll learn so much more about the people in your organisation too.
Finally, all of the anecdotes you’ll pick up will have tremendous value later on in the process, with potential for marketing ideas, sales messages and in finding ways to communicate your newly created values with future employees.
Build on Successes
Build on what’s working. Give your teams the opportunity to tell you what’s working and what they are generally doing well. Great ‘values and behaviours’ are often built from ‘the ground up.’ Your team will appreciate the opportunity to communicate what they are succeeding at.
Finally, there will be every opportunity for habits or traits developed on the factory/office/shop floor to become a form of company policy. A Brilliant morale-booster for everybody.
Ensure Management/Leadership Teams are Fully Bought-In
Make sure leaders are fully bought into whatever is agreed upon. If a company is going to document values, it has to be sincere. Not every single person in a company is going to agree with absolutely everything that’s written down but leadership/management teams really have be fully on-board or there will be a lack of authenticity when those same leaders communicate something they don’t really believe in, to customers, staff or even shareholders.
Walk The Talk
Writing values down is one thing, living up to them is so much more important. Authenticity is everything so look for opportunities to sponsor causes which relate to who you are, support events or seminars that chime with what you believe in and look for collaborations wherever possible to further find ways to breathe life into those wonderful values you’ve created.
Having lofty, high-minded and noble values is brilliant. As long as you can give 2-3 examples about how you live them on a practical basis. This gives them more weight and once again help with the most important part – getting buy in from your own people and customers too.
Go Beyond The Obvious
Honesty, integrity, trust, etc are great values and ones that should really be the foundation of every relationship in business (and life too for that matter.) However, in many cases, they are the baseline of our expectations, so see if you can go a little bit further. If you really want to use them as part of your ‘Values.’ Look for ways to be even more thorough in telling us how your company is especially trustworthy, honest or high-integrity.
Get The Language Right
‘Values, Vision, Mission Statement, Purpose Beyond Profit, Beliefs, Actions, Behaviours, Who We Are and What We Do.’
Values are mainly there to help persuade and influence behaviours on a large scale – don’t miss the opportunity to be imaginative with the terminology too. It will give you one further opportunity to win hearts and minds with customers, staff and others.
Once you’ve created them – celebrate them – wherever and whenever possible. Have them created as a mural in the boardroom, illustrate them as part of your company website, write them into your tender documents, etc.
Properly thought-through and authentic values have real weight. Take every opportunity possible to make them commercially work for you and your organisation.
I hope that handy little guide, helps, creating values is so much fun. If you’d like to find out more, drop me a line.