(Part 2 of 3)
The biggest problem I see with business values is when leadership puts them on a poster and ignores them.
When staff and customers see no connection or correlation between company values and leadership behavior, or as basis for management decisions, you can’t expect said values to be respected or followed by anyone.
Creating and implementing company values minimizes common risks and creates tangible benefits.
- Teamwork is essential for success. As staff grows, diversity increases. A thorny blend of territorial cultures can arise and undermine teamwork. Staff management becomes traumatic and profitability difficult to control. Clearly defined and properly implemented values create a self-sustaining culture that accepts those who fit and rejects those who don’t.
- Trust leads to sales. When leadership and staff have aligned values, saying what they’ll do and doing what they say, internally and externally, is second nature. When I research a vendor, I look for negative reviews. When a vendor fails to meet expectations, my trust is eroded. When there is trust, the door for me to do business with them is open.
- An engaged workforce is proud of their work and their employer. They have greater job security and less turnover, are more conscientious and less wasteful. Customers enjoying doing business with them and connection with the business, whether as an employee, customer or vendor, becomes a source of pride. Most employers agree, their staff is their most valuable asset and engagement is the goal.
- Retention in a highly competitive job market doesn’t just cut costs… it’s great for business. It means you’ve hired and trained good people and benefit from their skills, which leads to good management and a good work environment.
- Marketing is all about attracting prospects to your business. Teamwork, trust, and engagement are universally valued by businesses and customers. Demonstrating them creates an attraction and calls others to participate. This is how a business creates competitive advantage that can’t be bought.
- The desire to be part of something valuable almost makes recruiting easy. It is much cheaper, much easier, and far less speculative when prequalified candidates, clear why they want to work for your firm, are eager to do so and knocking down your HR door wanting to get in.
- Decision making is the most common and frequent activity of every employee of every business. When options abound, decisions take time. When staff are expected to “understand what to do” or read the boss’ mind, consistency suffers and mistakes happen. The easiest and fastest way to communicate expectations are with stories that model the application of company values.
When an organization shares common values, it respects different opinions. Finding common ground for solving issues, problems, and conflicts that arise while doing business becomes easier. In the conflict between want and need, values often reduce the emotional tug of short-term benefit vs. long-term goals. This type of clarity is how leadership creates value that leads to profit.
Next month, part 3 of How to Engineer your Business Culture, how to implement your new values. You’ll find more on Values and Culture in Mandelblog, the information source leaders depend on.