How to Determine Your Business Values
The following excerpt is from Jeffrey Hayzlett’s book The Hero Factor: How Great Leaders Transform Organizations and Create Winning Cultures. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | IndieBound
You can’t operationalize values in the workplace and marketplace if no one can see what they are -- starting with you. So the crucial point is that they exist, that they’re clearly stated, and that we commit ourselves to them. This is why I never ask to see the values or mission statements of companies I work with -- only whether they have them written down and clearly defined. This holds for everyone, personally and professionally, and for any business, from sole proprietors to Fortune 500 companies.
Do you have the things you and your organization or team value written down? The values that you and they stand for and believe personally and professionally? If you need don’t and you need some help, following are some examples of values from companies whose employees rate them highly for sticking to their values.
First, let’s look at the values included in Chevron’s “The Chevron Way.” Chevron says its values are:
- Diversity and inclusion. We learn from and respect the cultures in which we operate. We have an inclusive work environment that values the uniqueness and diversity of individual talents, experiences, and ideas.
- High performance. We’re passionate about delivering results and strive to continually improve. We hold ourselves accountable for our actions and outcomes. We apply proven processes in a fit-for-purpose manner and always look for innovative and agile solutions.
- Integrity and trust. We’re honest with ourselves and others and honor our commitments. We trust, respect, and support each other. We earn the trust of our colleagues and partners by operating with the highest ethical standards in all we do.
- Partnership. We build trusting and mutually beneficial relationships by collaborating with our communities, governments, customers, suppliers, and other business partners. We’re most successful when our partners succeed with us.
- Protect people and the environment. We place the highest priority on the health and safety of our work force and protection of our assets, communities, and the environment. We deliver world-class performance with a focus on preventing high-consequence incidents.
Do you agree with these values? If not, no matter. The point is that they exist. Everyone can see what Chevron stands for on the operations side and the hero side.
Or consider the core values that Zappos employees live by to do what CEO Tony Hsieh wants them to do: “Deliver happiness.” They pledge to:
- Deliver WOW through service
- Embrace and drive change
- Create fun and a little weirdness
- Be adventurous, creative, and open-minded
- Pursue growth and learning
- Build open and honest relationships with communication
- Build a positive team and family spirit
- Do more with less
- Be passionate and determined
- Be humble
I didn’t choose Chevron and Zappos as examples because I have a stake in them, love fossil fuels and shoes, or want you to agree with the values they state as a businessperson or customer. I chose them because they’re brands that most people are familiar with and can judge what they know against those clearly stated values, and because their values reflect a good balance between Operational Excellence and Hero Intensity.
If you already have your values written out, congratulations! Write them out now again without having them in front of you. Then take a moment to review them against the previous version and make sure they line up. If they don’t, you have a disconnect at the heart of your Hero Intensity as a team/organization.
If you don’t have your values written out, take a moment the next time you’re at work and write down the values of your organization or team. The list can be any length and have statements of any size. Remember: The point isn’t to worry about what they look like or to test them but just to make sure they exist.
Now take a moment and write down your personal values as a leader. Think about whether they connect and align to the values of the team/organization. Are they the same? Or are there differences? If they differ, you have a disconnect at the heart of your Hero Intensity as a leader.
Simply put, values are what you make them. Everything else you do to determine your Hero Intensity comes from them: What you think is right. How your people act. How you make your people feel welcome. In my company, you can be whoever you want, and I’ll support you as an individual. I’ll include you in any way I can. But you must realize that you serve these values. You must support them to keep our culture strong, because commitment to our values is what creates a hero company.
Remember: A brand is nothing more than a promise delivered. The values that define your brand ground you in that promise -- to the kind of company and leader you want to be and commit to becoming in an authentic way. If your values are inauthentic, so is everything you do and create. Values are what attract the best people to us, even if we disagree on what they value or even annoy us sometimes. I can’t tell you how many times I have hopelessly longed for Chick-fil-A on a Sunday. But every store is closed on Sundays as part of the company’s values, which focus on providing better work-life balance for its employees. I’m not happy about it most of the time, but I respect their choice -- and so do the people who work for them.