Values – my view or other peoples?
I’ve been spending time lately developing the values of our company, with the usual asking people and customers what words they think sum us up, gathering my own thoughts together, and really importantly asking the team at Re:Work.
One of my questions was, should I (as captain of the vessel), set the values of the company, or should we go with what our brand means to other people? Why even have values at all?
I’ve always been a very values driven person, I believe in doing the right thing ..... karma.... and all that jazz. Some might call that being brought up right (or correct if you’re not from Yorkshire!). My family have always been hard workers, teaching me the value of an honest days’ work and to treat people as you would like to be treated – I mean that’s the same for everyone..... right? It appears not – but in my world treating people well and doing the right thing (or striving to) is where I set the benchmark.
So because it’s clear that all the above is very important to me - should I thrust these onto the company I own and run and all those who work in my business? Is this what I expect as the ‘minimum’ standard from my colleagues and staff? Are these the type of customers we want to work with – well hell yes! We want to help people find the right products and services for them, and do things the right way, by being honest and straightforward, always adding value in both our products and customer service.
In my quest to develop our values I asked a bunch of people to describe in a single word what describes Re:Work as a company to them. When we gathered them all together, we made a ‘Wordle’, which is this cool little app that puts them in size order, cool huh?
So we had a clear idea of what customers and staff thought about Re:Work and although I felt that all these words describe us, I thought it would be more meaningful if we had mini statements not just big bold words.
After spending a few weeks letting this digest, looking at it and discussing it with people, I came up with our final 2 values – Stand Out and Have Fun!
It wasn’t easy getting here, as words like innovative and creative kept creeping in, but in the end I just felt like we wanted to ‘stand out’ more than anything else. I’d like us to stand out as a brand, as a product, as a company. You can’t always be innovative or creative, but you can always aim to stand out – it suites us better.
Fun is a strange word to put into our values, but this is about the values for everyone, and I believe that having fun is what it should be like at work, we’re here more than anywhere else, and if you’re having fun, other people will have fun, it’s contagious, just like laughing. We aren’t aiming to be a stuffy office furniture company, we’re aiming to be a fun office furniture company. And for anyone who has visited us, I’d like to think we had some fun together and put a smile on your face.
So we have 4 values:
- do things the right way;
- stand out;
- have fun;
- help people
So what’s the next stage? Well surely these are our guiding lights, if the decisions we make don’t fall into these values, they’re the wrong decisions. When recruiting if people don’t have the same values, we don’t think they’ll be right for us.
One of my original questions was why even have values in the first place? Well for me they set the direction of the company, they are the ‘things’ that your staff and customers see that you stand for and for me are one of the most important things to get right when growing your team or your business, as it will make decisions easier to make along the way – whilst at the same time delighting our customers.
As for the business owner deciding them, I like to think that I asked the important question, got a bunch load of answers and went away to make some sense of it. I came away with a set of values based on my beliefs, but isn’t it funny how all the words that came back describe me in some shape or another – was I already setting the values of the company by my actions and behaviours anyway...? Interesting!