A couple of years ago I worked with a small startup company that had accomplished its first revenue producing project. The four partners suddenly had money in the bank – and that’s when they realized they needed some guidance. 

They wondered what to do next and what to do with the money.  Do they invest in the business or share the money out? What kind of work should they pursue? They questioned who they wanted to be and where they wanted to take their enterprise.

These four founders came to me for coaching and a facilitated conversation, and it was obvious we needed to start with the fundamentals: examining their mission, vision, and most importantly, their values.

Understanding and articulating their values would help them design their growth path. Values act as a guide post to help make decisions and set priorities. An organization’s core values are the principles that guide actions at every level.  

Values are the guiding principles and fundamental beliefs that help a group function together as a team and work toward a common business goal. 

Values are often related to business relationships, customer relationships, and company growth. Values should come directly out of the mission and be specific enough to guide daily decisions. A good set of values promotes autonomy while also building a sense of relatedness.

After determining their mission (why) and their vision (what), we explored their values with these questions:

  • What values would I stand by, no matter what?
  • What values do I demonstrate in my own leadership?
  • What principles are most important as we make daily decisions?
  • What values support our current mission and vision? 

I often use my values cards to help leadership teams select the most meaningful terms. We tell stories and use my deck of 81 values to discuss what is most important to each leader to guide their organization. 

It was such an inspiring process to take this small business through – and now I work with values quite frequently – helping individuals find their own most important values, and organizations design their corporate values.

I know for a fact that when values of an organization are clear, they become a significant guide post. Here are just some of the benefits of clear and well establish corporate values:

  • Values set the tone for the company’s culture
  • They promote positivity among employees
  • They create a common goal and foster teamwork
  • Values attract employees
  • Values help the growth of the organization
  • They guide decision making and make clear what is the right work at the right time
  • Distinguish/differentiate the company in the marketplace

After our work together this little company went on to have a clear culture where the four leaders felt committed and confident in their direction.

How long has it been since you examined your company values? Are they still relevant and meaningful? Do they represent your leadership and where you want to go?

Your homework is to check in with your company values and make sure they are up to date. If you want support evaluating and designing your company values, I’m here to help. Reach out to me at connect@engagingplay.com.

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