An important goal for us at MAC6 is to build community through transparency with you every step of the way. We shared our 10-year vision in the last blog post. Today, let’s talk company values.
Without them, your company is unfocused and aimless. With them, your company has a baseline for success with your employees, your customers, and all of your stakeholders. Establish your company values now to lay a clear path for long-term success despite those inevitable bumps in the road.
Here at MAC6, we live by five company values: servant leadership, tenacity, love people, speak your mind, and always learning/always teaching. There are seven intentional steps we took to create and ingrain these values in our culture. It’s our pleasure to share them with you.
7 Steps to Create a Values-driven Culture
1. Define Your Values.
To define your values, you must understand what’s important to you as a leader or owner of your company. What do you admire? What do you want your company to stand for? What describes you as a leader? Reflect on these questions and answer them honestly.
As you establish your values, beware of these three value traps:
- Aspirational Values – These are values you hope to have but your company doesn’t embody. The employees, stakeholders, and customers that don’t experience your values will view you as inauthentic. You’ve lost their trust and hard-earned brand equity.
- Permission to Play – Stay away from generic values that describe most companies. Instead, find the balance between generic and aspirational values that inspire you and your employees to improve daily. Your values should challenge you and be focused enough to attract the right employees and customers.
- Accidental – Values that are not intentionally established won’t strengthen your brand. Instead, be purposeful in setting and living them out. Ensure your employees are acting and making decisions with your values in mind and they’ll take your company where you want to go.
Quick Tip: Choose three to five people you respect and list all of the qualities you admire about them. Group the similar qualities and remove those that don’t align with your company. Narrow this list down to three to seven phrases that resonate with you and your business. There are your values!
2. Create Behavioral Statements.
Behavioral statements help your employees understand how to embody specific values you’ve chosen. They demonstrate how to live your values in real life situations.
For example, one of our values at MAC6 is “love people.” That value is supported by this behavioral statement: “We care about others, about ourselves, and the world in which we live. We treat others with kindness.” Effective behavioral statements are actionable to help the values come alive.
3. Do a Gut Check.
You’ve established your company’s values. You’ve set behavioral statements to practically implement those values into your culture and workflow. Now it’s time to do a gut check.
30-60 days after you’ve set your values and made them known to your company, do a gut check for misaligned values. Review the three traps from step one and adjust if you’ve fallen victim.
4. Walk the Talk.
Set a weekly leadership team meeting and have each person share one way that he or she did not live up to a value that week. This intentional exercise will build trust among your team and reveal areas that need improvement. Discuss and recommit to your company values.
5. Hold Quarterly Conversations.
Provide an opportunity for quarterly conversations with employees. Ask the simple question, “How are our values working for you?” It’s a systematic way to have open, consistent dialogue with dual benefit. You’ll be hearing from your people and your values are always top of mind.
6. Empower Your People.
Allow your employees to make business decisions through the lens of your company values. Good, value-aligned decisions will be made if you empower them to do so. This eliminates the need for manager or leadership approval for every decision. Your company values serve as a general operating guideline for employees to get the job done.
That’s not to say things will always be smooth sailing. Sometimes, things go wrong. Take advantage of the learning opportunity to refocus on a specific value and coach them for future situations.
7. Prove That You Mean It.
Live by the values you set. Your values should begin and end every decision-making process. Hire, fire, and reward by these values. If you do this, your stakeholders will know the values are genuine and authentic to you and to your brand.
This seven step process is no small task. It takes time and can be overwhelming. We’d love to support you in this process to create values that take your company where you want to go. Let’s create more value together.