The Value of Values

It’s always been important to me to have good values, and I try to show them by making good decisions, giving to others, and sharing my talents. As human beings, that’s just what we are supposed to do, right?

Well, what about businesses? Can businesses have values that that make a difference in the world and propel them to higher levels of success? I recently saw a quote that says:

“Corporations don’t have values, the people that run them do.”

The truth is, an organization’s core values aren’t based on the executives that run it. An organization’s core values are based on the collective values of all the employees that work there.

A great example of this is the NBA franchise the Detroit Pistons. For those of you who are unfamiliar with basketball history, the Pistons were the laughing stock of the NBA during the 1979-80 and 1980-81 seasons with a combined win-loss record of 37-127. In order to turn things around management knew they had to focus on values – specifically values that had a more aggressive and defense style of play. Over the next decade, the organization brought on people like coach Chuck Daly and players (Isiah Thomas, Bill Lambier, John Salley, Dennis Rodman, Joe Dumars, Rick Mahorn and Adrian Dantley) who had aggressive, hard-nosed, don’t-back-down-to-anyone attitudes. The organization eventually went on to win back-to-back NBA Championships in 1989 and 1990 and became known as the “Bad Boys”.

While I am not advocating for your business to take on the values of the “Bad Boys,” I am saying values are extremely powerful and necessary tools for any business.

Here are three reasons why company values are so important to long-term success and growth:

Acquiring the Right Talent.

Hiring for team alignment is more important than hiring based on skill. Yes, skills are important but they can also be learned and developed. Your organization’s values should be the driving force behind any hire. They will let you know if you are hiring someone who will collaborate with and add value to your team. If open communication is something that is important to you, ask interviewees specific, scenario-based questions about how they communicate.

Creating Culture.

I recently saw retired Krispy Kreme CEO, Jim Morgan speak. When Jim took over as CEO in 2008, Krispy Kreme was nearly bankrupt. The organization was already as lean as it could be, so Jim started rebuilding the culture. In order to rebuild culture, everyone in the business had to buy-in on WHY Krispy Kreme was in business. He hosted a company-wide meeting to come up with a new mission statement. That mission statement is what drives the business culture everyday. Here’s what they came up with and it’s still on their website today: “To touch and enhance lives through the joy that is Krispy Kreme.” In 2008, Krispy Kreme was trading at around $1.00 and today, it’s nearly $18.00!

Delivering Amazing Customer Experiences.

We are in the “customer era” which has elevated every business’ need for great customer experiences. Yes I said GREAT. One example of customer experience every company can relate too is customer service. Customer service is a great weapon to use against the competition. If values are a core part of an organization’s customer service model, it will be show. Customers value things like honesty, humility, and listening skills. If you can exemplify these things better than your competition, you will win the hearts of your customers.

It’s important to note, these three reasons build on each other. If the right talent is hired because of their alignment to your values, your culture will improve, and that culture will creating employees who are intrinsically motivated to create great experiences for your customers.

Having learned from my successes and failures, I implemented employee expectations and values that guide and drive our team everyday. Here they are:

Every Employee’s Expectation and Values at LearnLoft, which we termed I.C.E.  

  1. Inspire. It’s everyones job everyday to inspire our clients and each other to become the best version of themselves
  2. Be Creative. We spend a lot of hours at the office so if you are going to be away from your family and hobbies, its paramount we all are as creative as we possibly can be. Everyone has the green light to try new things and have the permission to fail with those new ideas.
  3. Educate. We are in the business of education, so everything we do is centered around education and helping others to higher levels of performance.  Having a mindset of education is paramount.

So the question you have to ask yourself is, What values guide your organization or team?

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John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft and Host of the Follow My Lead Podcast. He is passionate about the development of people. He writes, and speaks about modern leadership and learning techniques. You can find him on instagram @johngeades.

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