VAL­UES ARE THE DNA OF YOUR BUSI­NESS

Un­der­stand­ing and ar­tic­u­lat­ing your val­ues is ab­so­lutely cru­cial for en­gaged and suc­cess­ful founder-led busi­nesses.

NZ Business - - CONTENTS -

Both of us, over the course of our di­verse ca­reers, in­de­pen­dently came to un­der­stand how cru­cial val­ues are to any busi­ness, and es­pe­cially so to pri­vate, founder busi­nesses.

We be­lieve val­ues are the DNA of your busi­ness – be­cause val­ues cap­ture the essence of what you stand for, what gets you go­ing in the morn­ing, and what you are pas­sion­ate about.

Un­der­stand­ing what your val­ues are and work­ing to ar­tic­u­late them are cru­cial to hav­ing great and au­then­tic lead­er­ship in your busi­ness.

If you want to be a con­sis­tent, au­then­tic leader who gets more than just time from your staff, you need to ar­tic­u­late your val­ues. Well-ar­tic­u­lated val­ues can help you be con­sis­tent in ev­ery­thing you do.

Even if you’ve never thought about your val­ues, they are al­ways there and they ex­plain why cer­tain peo­ple are at­tracted to work for you, why cer­tain cus­tomers choose you, and why you get on bet­ter with some sup­pli­ers than oth­ers.

We in­clude val­ues dis­cus­sions with ev­ery client be­cause they are so cru­cially im­por­tant.

Even though many of us have never thought about our val­ues, once you un­der­stand them and ar­tic­u­late them, you come to see why some peo­ple seem to just ‘fit’ in your or­gan­i­sa­tion, while oth­ers, who on paper looked bril­liant, just couldn’t in­te­grate.

That is be­cause we all be­have in ways that are con­sis­tent with our val­ues, even if we don’t know what they are!

For ex­am­ple, peo­ple whose val­ues are so­cial sta­tus and power are more likely to al­ways seek the most vis­i­ble roles. Whereas those whose val­ues are fair­ness and col­lab­o­ra­tion, are un­likely to thrive in a very com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment, even if they are very good at what they do.

The clearer you be­come about your val­ues, and the more you ar­tic­u­late them, the more likely you are to at­tract the peo­ple who share your val­ues. These peo­ple are more likely to be­have in ways that are con­sis­tent with what it is you are look­ing for, and there­fore are more likely to stay and help you achieve what it is you want for your busi­ness.

With the short­age of skilled tal­ent, re­ten­tion is key and val­ues align­ment will be your se­cret weapon. Al­ter­na­tively, a con­tin­ual mis­align­ment will mean a re­volv­ing door of tal­ent; costly in all ar­eas of your busi­ness.

Val­ues aren’t just words, they must be linked back

to be­hav­iours. By ar­tic­u­lat­ing the val­ues you can than con­sis­tently link be­hav­iours back to them. This cre­ates com­mon ex­pec­ta­tions around the busi­ness re­gard­ing which be­hav­iours are ac­cept­able and which are not.

The more con­sis­tent you are with link­ing be­hav­iours to val­ues, the more likely you are to get the be­hav­iours you are seek­ing from your peo­ple.

VAL­UES LEAD TO PUR­POSE

One of our clients told us that she found it ex­tremely ben­e­fi­cial to un­der­stand that ev­ery­one has val­ues, and there­fore by mak­ing the link be­tween their own per­sonal val­ues and those of the busi­ness they work for, she and all her team felt bet­ter con­nected to her busi­ness on an emo­tional level. As a con­se­quence, she found that her staff were will­ing to go the ex­tra mile – be­cause now their job be­came more than just about the money, it had a pur­pose, even a call­ing.

She also found that the val­ues cre­ated a com­mon lan­guage to use around the busi­ness.

She dis­cov­ered that by us­ing val­ues as the an­chor for feed­back dis­cus­sions, ev­ery­one trans­formed the way they were com­mu­ni­cat­ing.

Tack­ling those hard con­ver­sa­tions with staff can be tough, but when you align cor­rec­tive feed­back to the val­ues, and the be­hav­iours to the val­ues, the con­ver­sa­tions be­came eas­ier and peo­ple be­came less de­fen­sive as a con­se­quence.

When done well, val­ues can be used as a plat­form to fo­cus your busi­ness ob­jec­tives with your staff. By defin­ing your pur­pose, you can re­mind your­self and your staff why you all get out of bed in the morn­ing.

Val­ues form the cen­tre­piece of your strat­egy. What­ever it is you want to achieve for your busi­ness, it has to be con­sis­tent with them.

BE­COME CLEARER ON VAL­UES

We are very clear with our­selves and our clients, that val­ues should never be a long shop­ping list of words or sen­ti­ments. We en­cour­age them to fo­cus their val­ues on the ones that re­ally mat­ter – the ones that are re­ally unique to them and their busi­nesses, and that re­ally cap­ture their DNA.

By be­com­ing clearer and clearer on the val­ues of your busi­ness, de­ci­sions also be­come eas­ier, be they de­ci­sions about who to hire, fire, or who to part­ner with.

When founders are clear on their val­ues, a key ques­tion they can ask in var­i­ous sit­u­a­tions, is: "Is this de­ci­sion/per­son/sup­plier con­sis­tent with my val­ues?"

Fi­nally, the more aligned your busi­ness is with your val­ues, the more likely you are to be happy to be work­ing in it. If your busi­ness ends up not be­ing con­sis­tent with your val­ues, you will be more likely to want to get out, which could lead to de­ci­sions which might not be in your best fi­nan­cial in­ter­est.

Un­der­stand­ing and ar­tic­u­lat­ing your val­ues is cru­cial for en­gaged and suc­cess­ful founder-led busi­nesses.

“Val­ues form the cen­tre­piece of your strat­egy. What­ever it is you want to achieve for your busi­ness, it has to be con­sis­tent with them.”

GALIA BARHAVA- MON­TEITH AND MARISA FONG ARE CO- OWN­ERS OF TBC PART­NERS ( WWW.TBC. PART­NERS) – A BUSI­NESS CON­SUL­TANCY FO­CUSED ON WHAT IT BE­LIEVES ARE THE GEN­UINE CHAL­LENGES FAC­ING EN­TRE­PRE­NEUR­IAL, FOUNDERBASED OR­GAN­I­SA­TIONS IN NEW ZEALAND.

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