strategy resources

Company Values: why you should define them at an early stage

Company Values are absolutely pointless if they only exist as words on a wall.

It’s no wonder that few leaders understand the true value of values. There are so few cases where they have been defined and implemented properly.

???? Mark Baker gives the best and most practical explanation of values I’ve heard in his Mygrow module on Psychological Flexibility. It was an EQ competency about living in alignment with our values. He was explaining how not to be swayed by our own internal reactions, thoughts and feelings.

Values are life directions; chosen qualities of personal action; elements of life that really motivate us to behave in certain ways. They guide us to what we most deeply want. That’s why they’re called values. They are not something that can be finished or achieved, but rather they are lived out moment by moment. In this sense, they involve a direction rather than a destination… Values provide guidance, meaning and purpose in our lives.

Mark Baker

What does this mean for entrepreneurs?

When you’re growing a business, you have different goals. They often depend on what lifecycle you’re in. But fundamentally, your direction should always be the same because your purpose, mission and vision should be consistent.

Values provide clarity on what we should prioritise, what we should do and how we should behave. True operationalised values provide clarity. With them, we know what is expected of me and of others. But we also grasp what we, as a company, are trying to BE, not what we’re trying to accomplish.

An example of Company Values

For example, at Metavolve we value Candour. We conceptually define it as being totally honest and transparent about what you are capable of, what you think and how you feel whilst respecting the other person.

One of our operational definitions of Candour is to be proactive and direct about your limitations in being able to meet the client’s needs and wants.

If you get these right, then you will always have day-to-day practical guidance to keep you and your people in the right direction.

Treat your company values with importance at an early stage and you’ll be surprised by the value that they add as you grow.