One of my top core values that I’ve always upheld is “Strive for the Win-Win.” Win-win applies to every scenario of business I find myself in. Using this core value as my compass helps me shape business decisions that are good for me, my employees, my company, and everyone I do business with, making sure there are no losers. Here are examples of this core value in action:
- When I hire an employee or a contractor — I want to make sure that not only do I receive excellent, timely deliverables, but also that the value I receive is matched by the value that person receives from having delivered the service. They receive value through personal growth, opportunity to master their skills, upgrade their résumé or client list, and my paying them a fair price.
- When I sell something to a client and I get paid — I want the buyer to get as much benefit from the work I deliver as possible because I know I’m getting value from the experience, the new client, and the money they pay me.
- When I work and live in community with neighbors who are letter carriers, street cleaners, restaurant owners, dog walkers, dry cleaners, teachers, grocery store workers, pharmacists, religious leaders, sales and marketing professionals, garbage collectors, florists, after-school providers, financial analysts, child minders, bus drivers, fire fighters, and the thousands of other people — I want to contribute and lift up my fellow community members, so we all enjoy life and our human experience.
Habits Revealed Company Core Values
If you’ve never thought about your values before and you want to figure them out, or you want to confirm what you’ve always thought, look at the habits of your company’s leadership, which show the rest of the employees what their habits should be.
It’s not enough to state your values; you must fully embrace them through actions.
For example, say you state that one of your company core values is “Patience Permits Excellence.” You set internal policies that reflect this and encourage your employees in project meetings to take the time they need to develop amazing solutions.
However, you have some pushy clients who hassle your employees because they want things to go faster. If you allow these clients to behave this way and stress your staff, you’re not fully standing up to this value and their work suffers.
Let’s look at Salesforce for an example of what it looks like to take action around your values.
The company states its values right in the website navigation. Salesforce has narrowed them down to four items — Trust, Customer Success, Innovation, and Equality — and if you navigate through its site, you’ll find many ways the company demonstrates living these values, which include having a chief equality officer. Salesforce has invested in value-critical positions and policies that hold the company accountable to forming the necessary habits to live these values.
Small business owners like myself and most of my readers don’t have the ability to necessarily implement something as robust as Salesforce. We can do our part, however, to live our values so that collectively, all of the small business owners together can match the impact of Salesforce and its peers.
What are your habits? Write them down. Check out this list of 115 core values and identify which ones represent your company’s usual way of behaving. Does the effort you’re putting in now to live these values match your conviction to them?
My Company Is New — Does Anyone Care About My Vision?
Yes, people care and so should you. Having a clear vision sets your path to manifest what’s possible, even though it may feel impossible.
Most small business owners start out so focused on figuring out a solution that will resonate with their target market’s problem that they don’t make time to contemplate their mission, vision, or values and how they’re communicating these to the world. In the absence of having these in place, it can lead to wasted time wondering how to make the right decision in daily situations. With your vision in place (and with knowing your ideal client avatar), you will have a guiding star when you’re facing decisions.
Your vision reflects your beliefs and thoughts.
For many of us, we start by inheriting the beliefs and thoughts of our family and friends, but as we mature and have our own experiences, we begin to develop our own beliefs and thoughts. Your beliefs and thoughts permeate throughout the work you do.
To give you an example in exploring your own vision, let’ check out the vision statement for Salesforce . It reads: “We’re committed to a sustainable future for all.”
Whether Salesforce is making decisions about hiring, product design, office space or their electricity solution, the company can look to its vision for guidance to narrow down the options.
The vision for my company is: “To equip all small business owners with skills to achieve financial success so they can lead their communities to prosperity.”
What’s your vision? Make it bold! You may never reach it, but you’ll always know what you’re striving for.
Is My Mission Statement My Tagline?
Many companies have done a great job evolving their mission statement into a tagline — “Just Do It,” “We bring good things to life,” and the Salesforce tagline: “We Bring Companies and Customers Together.” This is something that takes years to figure out, so if your tagline is hard to create, don’t worry: You can write a longer mission statement for now.
Salesforce’s longer version is: “Salesforce, the Customer Success Platform and world’s #1 CRM, empowers companies to connect with their customers in a whole new way. … Together, with our whole Ohana (Hawaiian for “family”) made up of our employees, customers, partners, and communities, we are working to improve the state of the world.”
Your mission comprises the words and actions that you put in place to execute your vision and enable it to come to life.
The mission of Tesla is “to create the world’s most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric cars.”
When writing your mission, consider your big “why,” your purpose for starting your company in the first place. What mark do you want to leave on the world (vision) and how do you want to do it (mission).
Mission, Vision, and Core Values Converge
Your personality shines through your brand and reinforces all that you stand for in your mission, vision, and values. Your brand is the promise of exceptional delivery in the context of what you stand for and gives you the opportunity to consistently deliver to earn the trust of your clients and draw in your prospects to want to do business with you.
Continuing with our example, Salesforce consistently delivers in a way that its clients expect them to, by continuing to be a pioneer in having the best technology of any CRM company on the planet. The company’s pioneering work reinforces their value of innovation.
Furthermore, they have a chief equality officer responsible for global recruiting to ensure its workforce reflects the communities they serve. The creation of this position and implementation of these policies shows they’re serious about their core value of equality. When innovation and equality work together, their value proposition is strengthened.
My Company’s Mission Is Rock Solid — Should I State My Core Values?
If your company has a strong mission and vision, that is a great place to start. But without clear values, your company will be missing a moral compass.
The mission, vision, and values go hand in hand. This Venn diagram shows the consequences of leaving off one of the legs of this three-legged stool. By finding the alignment of your mission, vision, and values, you can lead your company to its destiny.
Do Prospects Buy Because of Similar Values?
No. Having strong values in and of themselves won’t convince someone to buy from you.
Your offer needs to be irresistible on its own. That said, if your product or service is exactly what your prospect needs to solve their problem and you have values that align with their values, they’ll buy from you and feel very good about buying from you.
Strong values can turn your customers into fans — this is when you know you’ve successfully communicated your values and have a brand identity.
Having your mission (actions and words), vision (thoughts and beliefs), and values (habits) in alignment shows your customers what you stand for and positions your brand messaging exactly where you want it to be. Use the diagrams in this article to articulate what you stand for.
When you do this well, you’ll know it because you’ll have raving fans screaming about you from the rooftops. And if all goes well, these fans will share your stuff on social media and send you referrals, too!
Belinda DiGiambattista is a serial entrepreneur, business coach, and outsourced financial controller and can be found at www.belindadi.com.