Do you have values in your business that are so fundamental that you are willing to hire by them, fire by them, and take a financial hit to live by them?

If not – you should.

Values are the core beliefs that guide decisions, attitudes, and behaviours in the business.  They are also the things that your team can feel closely aligned and committed to.

I have seen businesses, large and small, accomplish great things and get through some really tough times based on shared values.  This isn’t just fluffy stuff – it can have a real, tangible and intangible impact on the business you work in, manage or own and on your own success as a leader.

When there is strong values alignment, people will naturally feel more comfortable and engaged in the workplace.  And when that happens, performance improves, productivity increases and turnover decreases.

It is astounding then, given their importance and power, that many businesses have never stopped to clearly define what their core values are.

So how do you do this?

Firstly, you need to realise that values are something you discover by looking inside.  They are not something you can invent.  Too many businesses post ‘Core Values’ that are who they want to be, but then live out of alignment with them. This is hypocrisy and will turn off team members and create a chasm of credibility between leadership and team members.

To define your values ask your team, your clients, your suppliers what they observe of you.  Once you’ve got a narrowed down, meaningful list, ask yourself honestly – would you hire by them, fire by them and take a financial hit to live by them?  If the answer is ‘no’, they are not a true value.

And don’t expect to get it perfect the first time.

Our Focus HR team went through a values setting exercise at our strategy retreat in December and the outcome was remarkable.  They had seen us rely on our values in the past year to make key business decisions, guide us through the challenge of Covid-19, and face difficult financial and people choices.  So they knew how much our values meant and that what we wrote together would be lived and breathed by every one of us.  There was much debate, what-ifs, what-abouts, challenges and laughter.  

We’ve already been faced with a decision in 2021 that challenged us to uphold our values.  What was especially empowering was that, the minute we checked in on our values, the decision was easy and unanimous.  The decision was no longer difficult and the path was clear.

You can check out our values here.  And if you like asking yourself challenging questions like this one, take our Engaged People Scorecard and contact us – we’d love to talk through it with you!

Focus HR can assist you to facilitate a values workshop to create meaningful values that will drive behaviour and performance in your business.  Contact us to discuss.

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