We have to say, gaining clarity on the way you want to live your life (and run your business) and then living into those values, is hands down one of the best parts of being an entrepreneur. You don’t have ways of working imposed on you, by someone else. You don’t have expectations that mean you have to choose between doing what your boss wants, or being true to yourself. What you are, and aren’t willing to do, are all within your control.
Of course as an employee you can find a business that aligns to your values, one where you ‘fit’. Values are one of the key ways you should assess employment opportunities. It’s always going to give you greater joy to be aligned, than have a little extra in the paycheck. But for us Brigaders, being the ones that create the boundaries is just part of who we are.
“Until you have to forgo money for your ideal then it’s not a value.” ― Anthony Paech
Discovering those edges of where you are and aren’t comfortable is such a turning point, both personally, and professionally. We have had times in the past working with clients or partners where there is just a fundamental mis-alignment in values, and it just never works.
At the end of the day there is always a sense of frustration (generally from both sides). Getting to the point where you say, ‘sorry this work is not for me’, is truly liberating.
4 STEPS TO CREATING A VALUE-LED BUSINESS
- The first step is creating clarity. This is about going inwards. You need to discover the edges of what you are, and aren’t, willing to compromise on. And we aren’t talking about ‘permission to play’ values like honesty and integrity. That’s simply being a good human. We are talking about values that aren’t so bland and cookie cutter that they could be attached to literally any business. They should, in a large part, define you. One of ours at The Brand Brigade is ‘Seekers: Fierce Curiosity’. We are all about learning, finding the best of the best to share with our audience. It’s part of our DNA.
- Articulate that clarity in a way that can be understood and referred to by others. It’s quite easy for you to live by your values, but for others to do the same they need to become part of your ways of working. They should be heavily reflected in all your people processes from hiring, to onboarding, to staff reviews.
- Bring your values to life for your team. If they sit in a dusty folder or the endlessness of Google Drive they are not effective. You need to create ways to bring them into the day to day. Use them as a tool for on the job feedback and advice, create a recognition program where you share stories weekly of team members that have displayed the values. Display the values from the top. When your team sees you making decisions based on your values it empowers them to do the same.
- The power of no. Your values really start to shine when you start saying no. To truly be value-led you must have the courage to lean into making the tough calls, walking away from tempting opportunities and having the hard conversations. As Bréné Brown says ‘Daring leaders who live into their values are never silent about hard things.’ And there are always lots of hard things.
Being value-led is like a muscle, the more everyone uses it the stronger it gets, the more it becomes second nature until it’s not even a conscious thought. It just becomes, the way things are.
Jodie + Em xx