It’s hard enough to create personal values, much less values for your business. As a Christian business, we’ve faced the challenge of marrying our personal values as a leadership team with what the values should be as a business. Two years later, I can say that I am proud of the approach we took as we have a business that operates from our values. In my usual fashion, I’ll break it down into steps—5 in this instance.
How to create a culture of values:
- Write down everything that your business is currently doing on a whiteboard or sheets of paper. For us that included the product, our habits, our tone, the fact that we are highly customer facing, etc. Include the good and the bad.
- Group the different words and phrases that you write into similar categories. This will take some abstract thinking, but there truly is no “wrong” way to group the values.
- Now for the decisions. With your team, prioritize the values you would like to uphold. You will need to narrow the list down to between 3 and 5 values.
- Pressure test the values. Ask your staff (if you have one), sleep on them, pray on them, and look to other companies that might have overlapping values. It’s very important to make sure that each value you choose is a strong value, meaning that it would help you make tough decisions. For example, “nice” would be a weak value because the alternative would be “mean” and you would never want to be mean. At Red Door one of our values is “People over Profit” which leads us to make a number of tough decisions.
- You will need to distill your values into 1-2 words… And run the risk of looking cliché like most other companies. To avoid this, write down what your values stand in opposition to—one example for us being “Servant Leadership over Titles“— and make sure you spend time thinking through how each value will be turned into action by your employees.
Do all of this over the course of 1-2 weeks with 2-3 conversations so that folks have time to think and pray about the decisions being made.
Your values are a big deal. The biggest deal.