One of the very first things I do when coaching business owners and executives is to identify the organization’s core values. As a major part of the Scaling Up method, the concept of core values is pretty straightforward. Basically, core values are a handful of rules and guidelines defining the culture of the business DNA. These rules are reinforced every day by each employee of the business. This includes the leaders of the organization to the newly hired administrative or support staff. Failure to identify and adopt core values can have several serious negative consequences for your business. One such consequence, that we will discuss in more detail is having a cancel culture as opposed to a vibrant culture.
Before discussing cancel culture, let’s be clear on what core values are and are not. Many consultants will work with a business by interviewing leaders and using employee surveys in an attempt to define the core values. At the end of the exercise (which could cost a lot of money and take a long time), they may get a list of words such as:
Rather than compiling a list of (sometimes) meaningless words, it is better to do a deep dive into the business’s true core values. To show a comparison to a mere list of words, the Scaling Up method uncovers core values along the lines of the following:
Hopefully, the above clarifies true core values. Again, these core values are to be lived every single day by all members of the organization and I suggest 3-5 and you should be willing to Hire, Fire, and take a financial hit based on these values.
Core values ensure that all people are working the same way towards the same goals. When there are employees who refuse to live and work by them, trouble abounds. Those outliers can create a toxic culture that can hurt your business at many levels. Productivity may suffer, drama can increase, and employee turnover and retention will become a problem. This is especially true while we are going through the Great Resignation. I like to say that you need to have the right people in the right seats doing the right tasks. Without core values being integrated into the business, this task becomes very hard.
And what happens when your core values are not being practiced outside of your business? Customers will notice, that’s what will happen. Unless you have a monopoly on your product or services, customers may seek to make their purchases elsewhere. They may decide to cancel your business.
In the traditional sense, a cancel culture is an idea of taking away support for an individual, their career, popularity, and/or fame because of something they’ve said or done that’s considered unacceptable. This is on the individual level. For example, Ellen Degeneres got canceled for causing and supporting a toxic work environment. There are plenty of other examples of people being “canceled” for making offensive comments or participating in controversial activities.
For a business, the absence of core values can have a similar result as these canceled individuals.
As a Scaling Up Coach, I work with clients to uncover their true core values. But that’s just the first step. We then implement them – at every level and with every person in the organization. And we develop processes so the business lives, breathes, and markets its core values effectively. This approach attracts better employees and customers. On the flip side, failure to implement core values leaves the business vulnerable to employee and customer turnover.
How do you start? It’s simple, give me a call.