When I worked in a large corporate many years ago I used to be pretty cynical about corporate values. Words. More words. What did they really mean. Did anyone really care about them? They were something that was paid lip service to once a year and then ignored.
Maybe you’ve had the same experience?
Two things caused me to change my mind.
My children and trying to grow my business.
Lets start with the children. Have you ever noticed what happens when you say to a child “Don’t do that”.
That’s right. You get more of the behaviour that you don’t want to see.
Values are the antidote to that. They are a framework of behaviours that you agree on around how you behave and act together as a team. They tell you where you want to go. Not where you don’t want to go.
Our brains can’t process negative commands. Just like saying Don’t Panic. All you hear is the word Panic. Setting the direction you want to go in like Calm and Control will have a much more powerful effect.
As a family, we set our values and the behaviours we agreed we as a family wanted to see. Not to put to fine a point on it, but those values were the things that saved our lives in several death defying situations as we sailed around the world.
Similarly in my business, we invested significant time in both developing values and then most importantly making certain we lived them every week in the business. For me it was a cornerstone of growing and building the business to a point where we could successfully sell the business.
So, here’s my belief. Values, culture and behaviour are the very starting point for any business. Once you can define how you as a group of individuals can work together and form a winning team, you’ll be equipped to deal with the challenges that life and business will throw at you.
It’s one of the greatest buzzes I know to be part of a team that is thriving and winning. I feel privileged to have been asked to work with some incredible teams since returning from our sailing adventures. Focusing on culture and values is one of the first things we are doing. Whether it’s in my work with corporates, fast growth businesses or start up’s, we are getting into the fabric of what makes a team tick and work together.
The simple principle. If you can’t explain it to a 4 year old child, it’s too complicated. Make it simple, make it clear. Focus on where you want to go. Not where you don’t want to go. Then get on with it.