Picture this. You are about to go meet with a client or colleague and you are running late. You were in a bunch of meetings all day and just had enough time to rush home, say hi to the family and have a quick shower before you head out again. You look into your closet to put something on and you stop. Your brain is inundated with a rush of thoughts. Who am I meeting. What is he or she like? Where are we meeting. What is the nature of our meeting. How much do I balance what I think they would like and what I like to wear. Who am I? Ok that last one might be a stretch too far but is it really? What we wear says a lot about who we are. No, this is not a post about fashion, rather an attempt to get you thinking a little differently about your values! Maybe you don’t care what the other person thinks, or about what you wear at all. That also says something about you.
If we look at this from a business point of view, it would seem obvious that in this day and age, a company cannot exist, yet alone hope to grow each year, without strong core values that drive their decisions. Take this a step further and I would argue that a company cannot continue to succeed unless everyone involved is keenly aware of what these values are, and their importance to the company. This includes business owners/managers, employees, and customers. In an article for the Harvard Business Review back in 2011 Rosanna M. Fiske likened not sharing and clearly communicating your values to a tree falling in a forest. It may make a big noise but nobody is there to witness it. Do you think this could be you? If you were to ask 7 random employees in your organization or 10 random customers, could they tell you what your values are?
Perhaps you do not see this as important. It does not pertain to you. A recent example of poorly communicating values that comes to mind is the Target in Canada experiment. Sure there were probably multiple reasons for this disaster like not having any products on the shelves, but I would argue that there was also a clear lack of communication on their part. What set them apart from similar trusted stores such as Walmart or Superstore. At a loss for words? That’s the point. By not clearly communicating reasons why you should choose Target over these others there was no reason for people to switch. So the fad of going to this store once only seen in American soon wore off.
If you truly want to grow your business and build a following of loyal customers this is important! Here are a few tips to get you started…
- Keep It Simple: This doesn’t have to be complicated. The less words the better, and don’t be afraid to make it rhyme! If customers are going to remember why they like you, it should be short and sweet. Nobody would go to Bob’s Tire Shop if their value was “Customers always come first and we work tirelessly to make sure our customers are taken care of and always satisfied. Whether it’s new tires or gently used we have the tire for you! For quality customer service come to us and you won’t be disappointed!” Ok maybe that actually sounds pretty good but will you remember it 2 min from now? How about 2 hours or 2 weeks? I think you get the point.
- All Consuming: Your values should be apart of everything you do. It should be so prevalent that employees and customers almost jokingly roll their eyes because they know what your going to say.
- Fit: For your values to have the power behind them that you desire they need to fit. Meaning they need to make sense. If you are a chocolate bar company and your value is “Health above all else”, you need to question your values. For your values to have the impact you desire, they need to make sense with who you are as a company.
There you have it! If you have any questions or comments we would love to hear from you! We also love helping companies work on and develop values that they love. If you would like help in this area check out our website. You can also contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.