Companies that develop a strong culture succeed more than those that muddle around without a clear presence or identity.
And a key component of a company’s culture is its values: What are the its beliefs? How does it guide its people’s behavior and standards?
Values shape every decision a business makes. For example, internally, values define standards for hiring, firing, and rewarding employees – and externally, they guide your relationships with clients, vendors, and your community.
So, every business needs to develop, identify, and promote its values. This grows more urgent as you develop your company through the stages of its success journey. Surely by the time you’re scaling your business, creating a public identity, and staffing up, you need to know what you’re all about. And you need to make it clear to everyone every day.
How, then, do you figure out your company’s values? It’s a slow, thoughtful process – not something to bang out in a single meeting. And here are a few ideas to keep in mind.
- Brainstorm with your leadership team and your employees about the qualities your company should exemplify. (Remember, there’s no right or wrong answer or good/bad suggestion when brainstorming.)
- Group the ideas to clarify their meaning and avoid redundancies.
- Start eliminating them, aiming for 3 to 7 ideas that you want to build into action-oriented values.
- During the process, use some extreme ideas to find out what your gym is all about. For instance, do you want your culture to be direct and no-nonsense, even if it seems rude? Or do you want it to be nice and conflict-averse, even if it means no one’s ever really clear about touchy subjects? Are you so “innovative” that you rush to seize every new technological tool – or so afraid of new things that you miss out on useful advances?
- Be sure everyone feels included – from top down AND from down up. You won’t get employee buy-in if it’s all an executive order, while the team will need your leadership in words and actions.
- When you have your list of proposed values, put it in a drawer and forget about it for a month. You might want to make some adjustments after some time has passed.
- Finally, make your values known to everyone all the time. Display them in your company handbook, on your website, and at the sign-in desk. Promoting your values distinguishes your company like a stake in the ground: This Is Us (and This Is NOT Us).
Fitness Revolution’s client-partners receive thorough coaching on how to develop and share your core values. We’ll also help you keep an open mind for an occasional tweak that honors where you’ve been while clarifying where you’re headed.
Values make up your culture, and the right components of both will get you to the next stage of business development – and beyond. Let us evaluate where you are today on your success path – and how to get you all the way to the goal. It takes just 2 minutes to answer 10 questions and get started on the ride of your life.