Tag Archive for: company values

Why does your company exist? (from your customer’s perspective) We are seeing a lot of attention being paid in recent years to this idea of knowing your “Why” or the Purpose of your business, for good reason. Discovering the answer to this question can have a profound effect on the success of your business. It provides context for so many other strategic decisions as you grow your business, a foundation piece for your business plan. On the surface, “why” seems like a simple question, yet many businesses leaders struggle to find a strong, compelling, and succinct answer to this question. The key to getting to a clear Purpose statement is to focus on your customer’s perspective.

Start with this question: At a core level, what is the most significant value or benefit you provide to your customers? Imagine you are the owner of a company that sells lighthouses. What might be the Purpose of your business?

Something like: Our company purpose is to protect the lives and property of our customers at sea. With this purpose in mind, the company has the foundation to build out and improve its products and services over time. Eg. Life boats, life jackets. GPS systems, charts, etc all flow from this strong purpose statement. Brainstorm a list of ideas with your team. Mix and combine ideas until you have a good starting point. Review and tweak over time! For more information on defining your company’s purpose, please visit plangenie.com#business #leaders #success

In today’s segment I would like to talk about company Values, which is part 2 of your business plan.

Value Statements, we’ve all seen them, typically posted on the walls of the reception area, and elsewhere around the office or plant. So why do companies do this, what purpose do they serve?

A friend of mine calls them the “Rules of the Village”. I like this analogy.

Value statements are most helpful when written in a form that describes key behaviours and attitudes that you require from all employees as a condition of their employment. They are important because they help everyone understand how to “behave” on a day to day basis under any circumstances and changing situations.

As your company evolves, these values influence the culture of the company and add to your overall brand.

Unfortunately, most of these Values documents are written in terms that are vague, unclear, and open to wide interpretation, which is not at all helpful to your employees. And mean nothing to your customers.

At best they are simply ignored or seen as irrelevant. At worst they can lead to conflict within your company, as each employee may have a different interpretation of what is expected of them.

So the key to building a widely understood set of values is being crystal clear what they mean. I also suggest you start with a few, maybe three, that really matter to you, and add as needed over time.

The “Values” section of Plan Genie will help you do this.

Start with a statement about the value, then clarify the value by adding the words, “which means that…..” and  add details about specific behaviours or attitudes that people can understand. Think in terms of behaviours that are observable.

Describing values in terms of specific behaviours allows you to easily acknowledge and encourage employees who demonstrate behaviour that is in the company’s interest and to reprimand those that don’t meet your standards.

Here’s a couple of examples:

A value statement may look something like this

AT ABC company our focus is on our customers, or, we are a customer focused company

This statement in it’s own doesn’t mean much. Here’s how you might add clarity:

At ABC company our focus is continually on our customers

Which means that:

  • in conversations with our customers, we seek first to understand, then be understood
  • we put our customer’s needs first: we will interrupt the task at hand to connect with a customer, and ensure their needs are being understood and addressed
  • we use an outside-in perspective – growth comes from looking at opportunity through the eyes of our customers, our partners and alliances
  • we see through the eyes of those whose lives we affect, identifying unmet needs and producing innovative and lasting solutions. We bring to this task all our experience and knowledge as the unique individuals we are

Your values don’t need to be complicated. Here’s a simpler version of a value statement:

At ABC company:

  • We do what we say we’re going to do. It’s about action, not talk
  • We show up on time
  • We say please and thank you

Or you may have a value statement about teamwork. You can clarify the term “teamwork” by adding

Which means that:

  • When confronted with a problem or new opportunity, our natural instinct is to collaborate with others whenever time and resources allow.
  • we support and respect one another
  • team success means individual success

Or communication

Which means that :

  • we like clear conversations.

Here’s an interesting one I saw recently

AT ABC co we believe Success is a Choice. If you write 4-5 clarifying statements attached to this idea I think you would have a very powerful value statement for you business

There are countless ways of writing your values. Start with a few that resonate with you that reflect how you expect others to behave in your company where these core behaviours will contribute to your long term vision for your company.

Once you have a set of values that you are comfortable with, we suggest you review them from time to time. You will find that the descriptions you use will improve in clarity and understanding with each revision. Publishing a refreshed version from time to time will also keep this aspect of your business plan top-of-mind and relevant for all employees.

Thanks for listening. Please let us know if you have any questions about the Values section of your business plan.

The intention for this section of your business plan is to document the behaviours and attitudes that form the basis of your corporate culture. These are the “ Rules of the Village”, that everyone follows. Once these rules are clearly understood and supported throughout the company, all employees have a reference point to make independent decisions.

Your company values are another foundation piece of your business plan. All companies and organizations have a set of values, but they are rarely written in a format that is clear and easy for everyone to understand.

The most common flaw with Values Statements in business plans is they are too general, or ambiguous, and, therefore, open to wide interpretation.

To help make your values clear, we suggest for every value statement you make, you add  3-5 clarifying points, to move from the general to specific.

“Less is more” is a good rule of thumb here. 3 or 4 clearly articulated values are far more useful than a page of words that few people understand and therefore pay little attention to.

Now take a crack at writing a Values Page for your company- Again don’t be too concerned about getting it right the first time. This too will get clearer each time you review and update you plan