“I don’t see what is distinguishing about certain words attached to a company like for example innovative, when dozens of companies have that same word”.
I can sympathize with that. It is hard to ignore the huge data that conclusively proves businesses with stronger cultures and values perform a great deal higher in every way but we are all force fed the business models with visions, missions, values to an extent where I have seen articles now decrying the use of any such things.
They can be meaningless – visions or purposes that you are never going to get but sound good, are completely pointless; values on their own are indeed a group of words which stir few.
Without establishing a purpose, you will never get anywhere as you won’t know where you are going.
You cannot make decisions, as you have no reasoning on which to make them. You cannot decide what is relevant to do and what is not.
The moment you say you want a million before you are 25, you have an aim, financial planning and timescale for your business to work to.
The values only come alive through story telling – be it the story of the founding of the company, the owners struggles for success, stories of appreciation of delivery of values from the customers and stories about the staff behaving in accordance with the values.
Those values have to be a genuine part of those stories and then and only then the values take on personality and form that is such a vital part of the brand.
The values have to be absolutely true to the founder – false values because they sound good won’t cut it.
The founder of any business has to be pretty passionate to get a business off the ground. We do it because of our vision and our beliefs.
If our companies run to the values we belief in, then we retain that passion. An owner without passion will never inspire a member of staff. If they don’t buy into it, no-one will.
Passion is what motivates people. Most people want to do a good job and feel good about themselves when they do. They are motivated by having the maximum control over what they do and only being accountable for what they have control over. They want their efforts to be respected and appreciated. Then everyone is working side by side with a passion.
It is not only staff who lose motivation, the owner can lose it too. Time and growth can erode these fairly easily by simply diluting the values or losing sight of the purpose.
The wrong staff can cause the company to perform badly – something no business owner feels good about. The wrong staff running amok and out of control means a business owner can feel they.
Staff behaving completely unreasonably means the business owner can feel unappreciated. All these things kill any passion in the business owner and therefore kills the business itself.
I believe values to be a completely essential part of any business, and that those values must be alive and well and a rock-bed in the culture for the sake of owner and business alike.
Jan Cavelle is the founder of the Jan Cavelle Furniture Company
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