Defining your company values is easy to get wrong. Here’s how you can mess it up.
Defining company values is a critical step for any business. Values provide a framework for decision-making and set the tone for company culture. However, the process can be fraught with pitfalls and mistakes. We’ve summarised the common mistakes business owners make when defining company values, as well as providing useful tips on how to get it right.
- Copying values from other companies – One of the most significant mistakes made when defining company values is copying them from other companies. While it’s useful to look at other companies for inspiration, it’s crucial to create values that are unique to your business. Copying values from another company can make it challenging to establish a distinctive identity and may not reflect the true values of your business.
- Lack of employee involvement – Defining values should be a collaborative process that involves employees from all levels. It’s important to get buy-in from everyone and ensure that the values reflect the culture and beliefs of the entire organisation.
- Failing to communicate – Defining your values is only half the battle. It’s crucial to communicate them to employees and customers effectively. Failing to do so can lead to confusion and a lack of clarity in all your decision-making.
- Not demonstrating your values – Defining values is meaningless if they aren’t put into practice. It’s crucial to live the values and ensure that they are integrated into the daily operations of the business. Not doing so can lead to a lack of credibility and a breakdown in trust with both employees and customers. Mainstream media is awash with examples of brands not living by their stated values.
- Creating too many values – Creating too many values is a very common mistake. While it’s essential to cover all the important aspects of your business, having too many values can make it difficult to prioritise which ones are the most important to you, and it may dilute the impact of each value. It’s important to keep the values concise and memorable.
Getting It Right
- Involve everyone – It’s important to get buy-in from everyone in the business and ensure that the values reflect the culture and beliefs of the entire organisation. This could be achieved through surveys, focus groups, and workshops.
- Be uniquely ‘you’– Your company values should reflect the true values of the business. It’s essential to create values unique to your business that reflect the culture and beliefs of your organisation. This will help establish a unique identity and differentiate your business.
- Communicate – Communicate your values to employees and customers effectively. This can be through training, internal communication channels, or even external marketing campaigns.
- Live your values – Defining values is meaningless if they aren’t put into practice. It’s crucial to live your values and ensure that they are integrated into the daily operations of the business. Try doing this through employee training, leadership modelling, or recognition programs.
- Keep it snappy – Keep your values concise. Use simple language, focusing on the most important aspects of the business, and try creating memorable acronyms or slogans.
Defining your company values is a important step for any business owner. However, it’s important to be aware of the pitfalls. By involving every member of the business, being authentic, communicating effectively, living the values, and keeping it concise, you can define company values that reflect the true identity and mission of the business and set the tone for an unbeatable and distinctive company culture