Do our personal Values align
to our Business Values?
As a business owner sometimes it is hard to align our personal values with those of our business particularly when our business has grown from when we first started it.
I was having a conversation with a group of fellow business owners last month and someone mentioned that they recently replaced a key role within their business and the change was huge. The team is now high performing, they are happier and aligned with the goals of the business, the question was why.
After a number of questions we all realized that the person they had to let go was no longer aligned to the values of the business, I mean when he started 4 years ago his values and those of the business where aligned and everything was working well, along the way the individuals circumstances changed and so did his values this begs the question.
Do our personal values align to our business values? As business owners this is a super important question because like my friend's employee if we get out of alignment we will drag the business down and worse we will pull our teams down with it. So how do we answer this question without having to spend days and days, time that we don’t have.
I’m sure there are a number of ways to go about it, this is what I did.
1. I wrote the question down or up to be technical. I wrote it on my whiteboard and left it there for a few days. I would look at it several times a days and just let the question settle into my mind
2. I blocked out some time - 30 minutes of quiet time to start answering. I listed my values and wrote next to each value what it means. This was important because words have different meanings to different people, I clearly articulated what each value meant to me.
3. I looked at the list of values and meanings then highlighted which ones are my non-negotiables. These are the ones that no matter what I will not compromise on.
4. I looked at which values are important to me at the moment and this question was an eye opener because I noticed that my values move up and down in priority depending on me and what I’m needing to do.
Just before my 30 minutes time was up I did a quick review to make sure I was happy with what I had done and then I left this task for the next few days. In the meantime the question was still on my whiteboard and my findings playing around in my head.
I blocked another 30 minutes of quiet time and went through the same process with the business values.
1. reviewed them and the meanings I looked at if any of them could be compromised by a situation and would I or the business not be aligned to a value to secure a piece of business - I was thrilled to find that we didn’t have any values that we would overlook.
2. I put my personal values next to the business values and just looked at them, some are similar which is normal because the business started with me and some have evolved as the business has grown.
I noticed that the business values aligned and supported my personal values and my personal values supported the business values. What I was excited to see was that the values were different albeit supportive of each other. This had me smiling because the business was bigger than just me which made me proud.
I think the moral of this tale is that if your personal values are not aligned with your business values, your decisions, your leadership and your purpose will be misaligned and this creates negative effects. Your personal values don’t have to be the same and they shouldn’t be but they should be supportive and if they aren’t then review the value; does it need adjusting or can that value be moved to a lower priority so that you can still have alignment.
As a business owner we have all had someone who doesn’t align; if you haven’t you are super lucky and you may well find you will have someone in the future that doesn’t fit, when you have people that aren’t aligned to your business values they push against the direction of the business, they argue methods, they are a negative and not a positive force for change these individuals have values that do not align with your business values, make sure that that person is never you. Values fit is one of the reasons Alchemy Outsourcing was created, we couldn’t find virtual or remote workers that aligned to our business values and got behind our vision.
Check in on your values every so often, do they feel right and yep feel is where we need to go, do they enable simple decision making because they should, they are your guiding principles. Do they support your purpose? Ask your team; do our values align with the direction of the business and do your values align with the business?
Until next time. Stay fabulous!
CEO and Managing Partner