You’ve probably seen one framed and hung on the wall of a small business.You probably read one in the employee manual at one of your old jobs. You probably rolled your eyes. Thought nothing of it.
But now you’re a business owner.
There’s a host of reasons to write a value statement, none of which will leave your eyes pointed at the ceiling. For starters, these statements can help you define who you are — to your staff, to the people investing in your business, and even to yourself.
They create a self-defined standard for you to hold yourself accountable to. Best of all, they can help you make decisions. Hiring and firing decisions. Business expansion decisions. Day-to-daydecisions. When something has you stuck, you can refer back to your own values and mission to see which of your options holds true to your beliefs. They’re like a North Star for your business.
1. List who you like and why: As a manager, you’ve had plenty of time to work with bosses and colleagues, and by now, there are several you admire and enjoy working with. Jot down the names of four or five of them. Then list out what you liked about them.
2. List who you don’t like and why: We’ve also all worked with people we find less than stellar — the kind that drain your energy and make you want to pull your hair out. So flip the preceding point on its head and list the names of four or five people you’ve disliked working with. Then describe the characteristics that made them unappealing colleagues.
3. Brainstorm values and compare:Start brainstorming values you think might make sense for your organization, then compare them to the lists you wrote up for #1 and #2 above. Imagine your list of values applied to the people you liked working with. Would your values make those people thrive? Next, imagine your values applied to the duds. Do they help weed folks out?
To have a solid list of values, your answer needs to be “yes” to both of these.
4. Repeat: Your first crack at a values list won’t be dead-on. That’s okay. Just keep repeating the exercise until it comes together. Draft a new set of values until the answer is yes on both fronts.
5. Make them easy to remember: There’s nothing like an acronym to make your values easy to remember.
Here’s how we list out our values to make them easy for everyone to keep top of mind:
D elight customers
E lect and spread positivity
L ead with solutions and embrace change
I ncrease communication with open engagement
G o the extra mile with passion
H old oneself accountable
T reasure culture and freedom
Of course, now that you have these statements in place, it’s time to evangelize! Don’t be afraid to tell everyone involved about them. It can only help you. When staff members know and believe in your mission, they’ll make it their own. They’ll make decisions with it in mind, just like you do. Rather than spending your days wishing people would do better, you’ll spend them in awe of how much better your staff is at improving your business than you are.
And when you have that, you have the key to success.