Name Your Company Values
In the book "Scaling Up" by Verne Harnish he writes, "Your company is a living, breathing organism, "with a distinct personality. "It expresses that personality through its values." That's what values are. It's a way of, it's sort of a short hand for the way your business kind of approaches things. That personality that it brings to the table. Sometimes that's the same as our personality. It's always inspired by our personality and sometimes businesses kind of take on a little bit of life of their own as well. And I hope that that's actually the kind of business that you're growing now. A business that's not just you, but a business is actually bigger than you. A business that can accomplish more on its own than you can on your own. And so that's why were going to take some time today to really focus on your company values. Not just your personal values, but the values your company uses and expresses its personality through. And values are a key part of the goal setting and planning pr...
ocess because they influence how you tackle the challenge of reaching your vision, of reaching your goals. Because you and I can have the exact same goal and tackle that challenge differently. Based on our values. Based on our personality. Based on our growth style. You and I can have the exact same challenges, you know, we can face the same hurdles and overcome those hurdles in different ways. Based on our personality or the personality of our company and the values that it uses to express that. And so that's why we need to incorporate values into the planning process. Because if you don't, you and I might come up with the same plan and we both won't be able to work that plan appropriately. Because your plan and my plan should be different because we have different values. So instead of being able to give you a to-do list a mile long of how to get to your vision or how to create your goals. We need to use instead, the building blocks of how you tackle challenges, of how you accomplish projects, of how you get traction in the market. And your values are a huge piece of that. When you know your values, you can make decisions about your plans and about your goals and about how you're going to tackle challenges much more easily. Your company values make decision-making easier. So, I'm not going to lead you through any crazy like visualization here. That's not my jam. That's a lot of other people's jam. I love those people. It's not me. (laughs) Instead, I'm simply going to ask you to choose three words that describe your company values. And I've got some questions for you to help you think about that. But off the top of your head, what might some of those words be? What are those words that describe the unique personality of your business? What are those words that describe what is incredibly important to you? Meagan has a company called Quiet Adventures. Maybe adventure is one of her values. Maybe quiet is another one (laughs) of your values
Those would be words, that to me, describe your personality and describe what you're trying to accomplish with your business. And they might be really good words for your values. So, start to think about what some of those words are that just pop into your head. That's always how values have kind of worked for me. It's been like, yup, because they're sort of those truths, right? There's those things that we have always known to be true. Those things we've always known about ourselves about how we work and they are just going to bubble up to the surface. So, I dare you to not second guess yourself, right now. We talked a little bit about second guessing. I'm going to dare you to not second guess yourself right now. But here's some questions to help you think about this. What characteristics tie your past successes together? These do not have to be business successes. These could be corporate successes. They could be educational successes. They could be personal successes. Family successes, community successes. What are some of the words that tie those things together? What are some of the things that made them work? Those words might contribute to your company values. What makes your brand compelling? When people say, oh my gosh I just have to work with you because... What are some of those words? Fact, you can go even further with that. If you were to ask a friend or a client or a customer to describe your business, what are some of the words they might use? Are those words that kind of name, identify some of those fundamental truths about you, about your company, and about its personality? And then finally, What qualities do your customers thank you for? Danielle LaPorte, who we mentioned in the last segment, kind of made this question famous. What people thank you for, is something that is really unique to you. It's something that really makes you compelling. Makes your company compelling. So what qualities do your customers thank you for? Qualities your customers thank you for. Now, I'm going to give you guys a minute to share with me some of those words, but first I'm going to share with you my words. The values for my company, for CoCommercial. The first word is experimentation. One of our core values is experimentation. I am not the kind of person, I am not the kind of leader, and I do not lead the kind of company that is going to sit on something and make it completely perfect before I put it out. I experiment and I experiment very transparently. It wouldn't work for everybody. Not everybody enjoys it. (laughs) Right? It is because not all customers are for me. But the people who do like it, love it. And it's something that I love too. It's something that I enjoy doing. So, experimentation means, we embrace exploration with intention. In other words, we're going to try all sorts of different things as long as there's a purpose and an intention behind that trying. Behind that exploration. Our next value is agency. Agency, we believe in the power of our members and our team members to act on their own power and wisdom to achieve their goals. And this is something that we absolutely apply to our customers, but it's something we absolutely also apply internally with our team members as well. So we, our goal, is to encourage our members at CoCommercial to act on their own power and wisdom. To draw on what they know, what they feel, to be true. What's going to work for them based on their experience. To sift through the conversations and the advice and the ideas that they might have gotten from others and act with agency on what they know to be true for them or what they suspect to be true for them. And we do it internally as well. So our team members are empowered to create plans and projects and reach goals on their own. And not always be coming back to me or my COO for advice or ideas or approval. Right? We our goal is to really help empower our team members as well as our members to act on their own agency. And then finally, we have the value for community. Specifically, we have a value for succeeding by embodying we instead of me. I really believe personally in personal success, right? I said earlier, I really love making money. I hope you guys do too. And those things have all historically been me things. Like, I do this. I make this money. I'm becoming more affluent. I'm becoming more wealthy. I'm becoming more powerful. But what's different about the way we approach things is that we know that any individual is limited if they are not succeeding as part of the we, right? If we're not rising all ships on that tide, we're not raising all ships on that tide, then we're not truly succeeding. And so we have a community value or we have a value for community in our company that always is demanding that we succeed as a we and not just as a me. So what are some of the other values that you guys are tossing around right now? Yes.
Okay, so I put, I happen to have just done this with people asking them for...
Oh yeah, uh-huh, great (laughs)
So it's like fresh in my mind also (laughs)
So, what people said about me were: insightful, intuitive, self-directed, visual, communicative, and community focused and driven. And I would add empathetic.
So, and what I do is so I'm a photographer and a writer and actually I tell, I mean I tell stories, but I help people with their online communities for their business and finding their customers and telling their stories. So, for example, like a real estate agent needs content and needs, you know, things that are not necessarily about the houses that they are selling, but about the neighborhoods and the people and the businesses.
So I go in there and I'll interview businesses and I'll profile them and I'll take pictures and write about it and that will be part of the story of the community. You're not just buying a house you're buying into a whole life.
I love it. I love it. Everyone's like, that is so cool. (audience laughs) So, that's definitely one of your values of community or storytelling or some combination of that. But I love that and it's so different, right? That it's not what we expect when you said, I'm a photographer and a writer. Like, I was not expecting that story and that, clearly, that passion that you have for that piece of the personality of your business and what's important to you. So, I love that. Thank you, so much, for sharing that. Let's get another example. Who feels really strongly about three words that are their company values. Yes.
Hi, I'm Jane.
Hi, honesty, acceptance, and beauty.
Love it and what do you do?
I'm a professional organizer. Specifically with the Marie Kondo method.
Fantastic. I love that and I love those three things too because I would not have guessed personal organizer when you said that, right. And that is what makes your business unique, that, right? Because a personal organizer might have, like the... (sighs) organization as a, or integration maybe, or simplicity as a company value. And those are all great. Those are all great values, but probably all organizers value those things. And the things that you brought to the table. Those three words, those three values are really, probably very unique to you. And the more you can leverage the uniqueness of those company values, the more your personality of your business really is going to shine through. The more you're going to stand out in your marketing and get traction. So that's great. Anyone feeling a little hesitant about their company values? Alright, yes. Katrine, come up here. Did I say your name right?
Yes. (laughs) Alright, so first of all, tell us who you are and what you do. Where we can find you online. And then lets talk about your company values.
My company is called Translations on Purpose.
And I help companies like to translate their brand into various languages. Especially into German because that's my native language. And, yeah.
Okay, excellent. And where can we find you online?
Excellent, I love simplicity. That's perfect. Alright, so tell me some of the words that you started mulling around in terms of, you know, what qualities do people thank you for, what, you know, what kind of, is unique to your personality and what your business brings to the table? What are some of those words?
Well it's creative.
Okay. What else?
I mean, I like consistency.
Okay, that's a good word. Anything else?
Those are the three?
That is more like... I'm personally.
I have such trouble spelling initiative... I-N-I I think there's another T No, I don't know. (audience laughs) Don't look at that one. (audience laughs) I literally spell that word wrong every single time and so I had to go through, like, the later word setting "our chief initiative" I had to look at that slide like five times before I decided that the spellchecker wasn't being wrong. (laughs) Anyhow, alright, so tell me why being creative for your business helps you stand out. What that brings to the table for your clients. What is it about having a value or having this quality, this personality for creativity, that creates value for your customers?
I mean, I would say that first, like the translation or locally stationed process of business like translating and localizing into another language it seems like very black and white or not really getting any pictures of what it means and what it involves and it can be very expensive too
And so there are many creative ways to do it. To start and to continue and then to reach your goals. And so I think it's... yeah, So I just like... yeah that's what I'm focusing on to.
Okay, so maybe one way that we can say this then is that you have a value for approaching project in a unique way?
Yeah. Depending the business and what the business needs and what it can do and like, how I want to start out because like when you translate your brand completely it goes much further because then also you need a customer service and all of that.
Yeah. Maybe it's better to start out like in a different way.
So a unique approach for each client to reach unique goals.
I love that too because, you know, you said it can be very black or it can seem like it should be black and white right?
Like, take your sells page or your home page and plug it into Google Translate and then you're done, right? (both laugh)
And you're like, no. (Katrine laughs) That's good. You have a visceral reaction to that kind of thing that means you're on the right track. So yeah, so I love this. I mean, maybe, that's something that you give a little more of your own personal personality to, but I think that that's a really strong value. If you walk into a sales conversation with someone or on your website, if you can say, you know we really value a creative approach at Translations with Intention, was that what it was? Translations with...
On purpose. (laughs)
On purpose. Same thing, but very different. Translations On Purpose, we really value creativity and that means that for each client we have, this isn't some black and white, this isn't plug and play, we have a unique approach that we're going to bring to you. To help you achieve your unique results.
And then that in your own business internally you can say, am I trying to... am I trying to just make some formula work? Am I trying to just check items off? Or am I taking this problem inside my business, or this opportunity inside my business and am I approaching it with a unique approach as well, a creative approach? And so it's something that happens on the outside and something that happens on the inside as well.
Do you do that?
Right now, yes. But, I mean, I really want to make it more... I mean I think it's important to create more like processes and to make it more... To have some kind of like check list. Just like to keep this creativity into kind of like contained.
Yes, I totally agree with that. I totally agree with that. I think a process can actually give us a container for our creativity, right? And it can help us become more creative. So I don't see that as being a problem at all. Which probably leads us to strategic and to consistency. So actually, let's work with consistency. So, why consistency? Tell me about why you chose that word.
Well, it's like when you say that planning is not a one time thing. It's like you have to go back and back and so I think if you want to do business in a foreign market, it's the same thing. You translate the brand. You also get in contact with the people and then you have to bring some kind of consistency in showing up and being present. And so, to create that plan into like, the process of going overseas
I mean selling overseas.
So what if we made it something like what consistency means to you is kind of respecting the whole process. Where it's not just, you can't... You can't pick and choose what you're going to do, but you have to respect the consistency of the whole process. Does that make sense?
I mean, it's like everything you want to reach somehow you have to integrate into your life and so it's like the same thing if you want to go overseas, like with exploring a market locally, it's like you have to consistently work with that.
Gotcha. I think, so maybe it's like respecting the process of regular integration. And again, I think that's something that works really beautifully on the outside of your business, you know on the client facing side, but it also works really well on the inside, as well. So, you can ask yourself every time you sit down to create a plan or every time an opportunity comes your way, even every time a new client comes your way, you can say, you can ask yourself, if internally, also, are you respecting the process of regular integration. Is this, are you going to want to support this client for the long term. Is this opportunity going to help you build for longevity instead of just short term, right? And so you can kind of look and see am I going to want to consistently keep coming back to this? Or am I not going to want to keep, like, is this good for now, but not really for the longterm?
So that's, this one is really good. I think especially for decision making and planning and that whole piece, but it's also a really great way to talk about value with your customers, as well, is when you hire me, you're not just hiring the first step of the process. You're not hiring someone who's going away. You're hiring someone who respects the whole process of regular integration. So that you know that your brand and your customer service and your products and everything that you're bringing into that foreign market is going to really fit and work with the people that you want to reach.
So it's perfect because now it's a part of your decision making process and it's a part of your sales process. And that's why values, company values, are so important. Because it's not just that statement that you print out and hang on the wall like they did at your corporate job. Ew. This is something that literally shapes the way we create plans, the way we talk to clients, the way we talk to team members. Do you have team members in your business now?
I had two and now I have only... I mean I have one.
One? And so you and someone else?
Yeah, but somebody like because I work with other languages, so it's somebody who works into another...
I see, gotcha, cool. So this is also something that you want to be talking about with team members as well. Because when you tell them about your values it's easier for them to make decisions as well. And this is something that people really get tripped up on when they're growing their businesses, right? Is how do we get to that, how do I get to that point where I can give other people authority, where I can give other people power, so that they're not constantly coming back to me for the like, is this okay? Here's what I'm thinking, Can you like give me the go ahead on that? We don't want people to do that. We want people to... We want self-starters, right? We want action takers. We want people who are willing to say, I know Katrine would love this because it fulfills, consistency, strategy, and creativity right off the bat. So I'm going to tell her about it, but I'm going to move forward with this. This is the right plan. And so this is something then that you also want to talk about with your team members. So, and you know, I'll let you fill in the other two or you know, get more creative with the even creative and consistency as well. But this is something that when you talk to new team members you can say, okay we have a process here and I believe in the process and at the same time we strongly believe in a unique approach to each project so that we can help clients get unique results. And so, I want you to make sure that if you got a creative idea, if you see something I didn't see, if you... If there's something interesting, that's just kind of gnawing at the back of your brain, I want you to bring it up. When we talk about this project I want you to bring it up. Because those are the things that really make our business tick. And then the same kind of thing with consistency. I want you to be the kind of person who is constantly thinking about, maybe not constantly, but consistently, (laughs) thinking about our clients and how we can help them further integrate the work that we've done into the brands that they're building overseas. That make sense?
Alright, awesome. Thank you, so much, for letting me use you as an example. Alright. Any questions about company values? Anyone feeling really stuck on that? No? We got some good words going on? We got some, okay, we got a start to this. This is just the beginning. We're going to go further and deeper into this. And speaking of which, I'd like you to actually start thinking about analyzing your business based on those three values. Where do you see your business, actually already embodying those values? And where do you see opportunities to bring them into play even more consistently? Or creatively? Or Strategically? (laughs) So where are you already utilizing your values really well? Where are you already, kind of, letting them to the forefront of what you do? Where do you see those values really... Really building momentum? Helping you communicate your brand? Helping you talk to team members? Helping you talk to clients? Where are those values already helping guide your decision making process? Then I want you to think about where you might be able to amplify the use of your values. Maybe there's places where you're like, oh yeah, I can see consistency there, I can see consistency and I can see creativity, but it's not as much as it could be. I don't actually have a process yet. And I'm not actually, like, I haven't taken the steps to approach each problem creatively yet. So maybe what I could do, is define the process in an outline or in a template and then at the beginning of every project we could have a brainstorming session. Where we throw out the template for fifteen minutes and we brainstorm creatively, right? And that becomes part of the process. So your values now aren't just something on a piece of paper but actually a change that you've made in your business to improve your process. I now want you to think about when have your values helped you with a victory in your business? When have your values helped you with a victory? When could you tie a big win in your business, a big success in your business back to one of those words you just wrote down? When have your values helped you win a victory? And then on the flip side of that, when has neglecting your values made you fall short? When has neglecting your values made you fall short. It's happened to all of us. It doesn't mean that you've dropped the ball. It doesn't mean you've something bad. It doesn't mean that you've hurt people. But there are definitely times when we have ignored the things that are most important to us. The things that are most important to our company. The things that are most important to our customers. When we make a decision. When we go after a goal. When we start working on a project. And when those things fail, one of the things that we can legitimately attribute that to is that we forgot about our values for a little bit. We didn't put them to work for us and so they didn't. So what are your company values? I would love for everyone watching to tweet me or to hit me up on instagram and let me know those three words. Three words that your company embodies. The personality of your company. So I would love get a few more shares from in here too before we head on to the next part of this lesson. Whose got three words as we've gone through the hot seat now and some more examples and really analyzing your business a little bit more. There are three words that are your company values. Yes.
Innovative, intuitive, and dependable.
Innovative, intuitive, and dependable. And what do you do?
I am a graphic designer for weddings and I have a business partner who is a florist.
Excellent. I love it. Dependability in that industry is extremely important. (laughter)
[Graphic Designer] We show up to the weddings. (laughs)
[Graphic Designer] On time.
and not always a thing so that's really awesome. Which actually that brings me to something that I wanted to mention. Does anyone have customer service or service down as one of their values? You guys all get gold stars. Obviously customer service is important. Service in general is important, but it's probably not the thing that makes your personality, your company's personality, what it is, right? That's a given. Now if you have a really unique take on service or you know, maybe experience, your growth style is prestige and experience really important to you, but that's a little something different, right? I don't want to see any of those words that are like every company values that. These are words, these are values, these are concepts, that are unique to your company. They're part of what helps you stand out and then they're also part of that unique way that you are going to tackle every challenge on the way to hitting your goals. And the way that you're going to uniquely challenge or tackle, uniquely tackle, all the decisions you need to make on the way to your goals. Meagan, what are your values?
I have a lot. So I'm having a hard time narrowing it down to three.
I'm going to put you on the spot. Give me three.
Okay (exhales) it's so hard. Simplicity
Personal sovereignty and I have community. I can't choose three right now.
That's okay, but let's start with simplicity because I have a question for you. Kind of tying into this, you know, analyzing your business piece. How do you use simplicity in your business?
Pretty much everyday. Like, I'm always constantly looking at how I cannot... Because I'm an over-thinker, So I have a tendency to over-complicate things and that's often what stalls me in my business. So, but I also really value simplicity. So, doing things as easiest as possible, having systems, having structures. Breaking down information very easily for my clients, for my team so that it's all very clear and simple. I don't like a lot of noise or extra fluff so I'm always looking for ways to reduce that. Does that make sense?
Yeah, that's great. Would your clients, would your retreat goers, for instance, would they list simplicity as a value for you?
Yes, because it's a very like... Well I don't know, but it's a very overwhelming, like when they sign up to, especially for our bigger adventures, it's a big leap for them and so simplifying and making the processes easy for them as possible is in the end, they're like, wow you made that so simple. I didn't have to think about anything. You took care of everything and that's what I want.
I love it. And that's also a really great example of, you know, you could call that customer service, right? That we take care of everything, but for you it's not customer service. That has a different name. It's simplicity.
I love that.
Thank you for that example. How about one more. Melissa.
Fun, beauty, and ease.
Alright and tell me about a time that you have neglected one of those values and it led to a misstep, a mistake, a failure. (Melissa sighs)
Oh, geeze. (laughs)
Well think about, let's actually look at, what's one of those like not mistakes, but one of those missteps that you made in your business over the years that you're like, man I should have known better. I know you have those. We all have those.
Yeah, well I'm just, I'm kind of in this weird place right now because as you know I'm in this pivot and so I'm like... I don't have the clients, for the pivot clients, like I'm like I have avatar clients. (laughs)
I'm sorry, I'm just like completely drawing a blank.
That's okay. I want you to think about that and get back to me, alright. But maybe, you know, I want everyone to think about that too. This is, you know, understanding your values, embodying your values, using your values to make decisions, to tackle obstacles, to get past challenges on the way to your goals requires a lot of analysis. This goes back to the agency piece, by the way. This is how I am helping you embody your own agency. It's not just matter of saying, These are what my values are but these are what my values are and here's how that contributes to the success or failure of my business on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, decade-ly, that's not a word, basis right? If you don't do the analysis piece, they're just words on a piece of paper. So whether it comes naturally to you or whether this is something where, you know, later you're going to have to pause the video or you're going to have to come back to it at break, that analysis piece is incredibly important. Because that's the piece that's really going to inform your goal setting and your planning as you go forward. Because your values should help you not repeat past mistakes and they should help you repeat more of the victories. Because when you know how your values contributed to your victories and to your failures you can work that into your plan in the future.