I’m an advocate of writing down the values, vision and mission for a business – be it a startup, agency or professional services firm.
Teams morph and merge, contracting and expanding over time. The business can be significantly different from the time it launched – and this can be good or bad.
However a business starts, there will have been a vision as to where the founders wanted to go, values on the journey and a mission as to what had to be done to get there.
This task may not be top of the list, but it is really important and I’ve delivered this work internally to organisations so that the business goals are aligned with corporate structure and culture.
Relevant, candid, and real company values are instrumental to driving strong team engagement and are integral to the new hire process.
There is also the requirement, as an agency or business grows, to refresh these internal principles especially where there is hyper growth.
When the change happens from management team and founders interviewing each new employee to teams taking control of hiring, these principles will grow and evolve.
The business should be clear – very clear – and protect who they are, what they stand for, and by inference what they don’t represent, and guard this carefully to become integral in driving growth.
Values are defined as ‘principles or standards of behaviour – or – one’s judgement of what’s important in life’ and this also stands in good stead for corporate behaviour. They should work to guide behaviour – and if they don’t, then they are wrong.
Some define a brand as being what the consumer says when you are out of the room, company culture is the opposite – it happens in the room and continues to do so – so these principals when embedded into corporate behaviours ensure the culture does not turn into something that the founders, teams or third parties don’t like.
The process I’ve undertaken encompasses working with management teams using a well-developed structure, process and time management system so that there is onerous stress on the business, day-to-day time-wise.
Each element of the work sets out to define and represent the business at its core and I’ve developed guidelines for outputs form the process that in summary include:
– keep it all simple, sweet and real – everything should be an articulation of what you already have, this is not aspirational
– create a powerful, relevant and focused narrative
– sense check so everything works across all business units and geographies, and allow differences/localisation where there is just cause
– the outputs are never to decals, they are to be integrated into daily business behaviour and thinking, decisions and processes
– create outputs realistic to where the business is, and where it is at
Rod Geoghegan works with Marketing Services Agencies, Tech Start-ups and Professional Services Firms to plan and deliver growth.
He is Founding Partner at Metropolis Partners