What does the House of Lords have in common with Silicon Valley

Yesterday was the official opening of Parliament in London. It’s a full on ceremony with traditions stretching back hundreds of years. I was fortunate to have been invited to afternoon tea with one of the Lords and got to see the inside workings of this most British of traditions. Several hours after the Queen opened Parliament I got to see the Debating Chamber (which was packed and full of debate), to walk the corridors and rub shoulders with Lords, and to see the robing room where the Queen with Ladies in Waiting prepared to deliver her opening speech.

It was a fascinating insight and I was struck by a similarity I’d experienced only a couple of weeks earlier. I’m just back from two weeks in San Francisco and Silicon Valley meeting some of the smartest entrepreneurs and the venture capitalists in the States.

So what could these two possibly have in common?

It’s about Values. 

In the Queens robing room, there are a series of paintings on the walls by William Dyce. They depict the chivalric virtues of hospitality, generosity, mercy, religion and courtesy, as represented through scenes from the legend of King Arthur and his court. There are two other frescoes, illustrating fidelity and courage.

In this most hallowed of institutions, it’s fascinating to see the Queen surrounded by the values which have been part of this instition for hundreds of years. Right before she walks into the Houses of Parliament to deliver her speech, these are the influences she has around her.

Values. Values. Values. They influence our mindset and drive behaviours. Behaviours drive actions and actions drive results.

In Silicon Value, I see some of the most successful ventures being driven by a shared set of behaviours, by a common purpose. Marc Benioff at SalesForce has values and culture right at the heart of his juggernaut of a technology business.

If they are good enough for the Queen, the House of Lords and the finest in Silicon Valley, are they good enough to put at the heart and centre of your business and your team?

At their very simplest, values are all about agreeing what’s important to each team of people and making sure they are something that is regularly talked about and influences what the team collectively does and how they show up.

Have an awesome day everyone.