When I write a new blog it is usually about business, marketing research, or something I found particularly cool. It could be the latest and greatest technology, or even the top ten words (one of our most-read blogs). Typically something inspires me to write and it’s often based on personal experience or something that I have observed or read.
Recently, I noticed a company using their corporate website, to clearly communicate their Company Values and then go further by linking their values to their culture. The company I am referring to is the Whole Foods Market (http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/mission-values), and if you shop there you are likely to know a few of them already. They believe in providing organic selection and sustainable seafood. They also make an excellent point about their values right on their website, and that is that their values “they do not change.” Meaning it is foundational, it’s not up for discussion, and they are committed to their stated values.
Every person and company has values that they hold, whether they have identified and written them down or not. It’s true. We have stated corporate values at Mindspot as well. We want you to know who we are and we hope those who work with us on a regular basis know a few of our values simply by working with us. For example, at Mindspot Research we value building sustainable business relationships, teamwork and our client’s success. Our day-to-day activities are focused on living those values.
Get what I am saying? The values your company holds are driving the corporate culture. For example, if you work at a company where there is intense internal competition for top accounts or projects, and your coworkers often will go to any length to get a project, the company is clearly saying that competition is rewarded. This is a competitive internal environment, where doing what it takes to get the job is rewarded.
Many business people or other professionals, particularly those in Marketing and Management, can tell you or quickly identify at least a few of their corporate values. We also hold personal values which determine if we align with a culture or even another person in a relationship. If you are having a tough time fitting in at work it might be because your values are not aligned with the corporate culture. If you are not a competitive person and that is what is rewarded at your company, then, you might consider looking for a new gig. You might know your corporation’s values, but do you know your personal values?
Sure, you could answer the question of the values with what might be considered core pillars that are often-mentioned-but- not-always-kept. Like, “honesty,” “ethics beyond reproach,” and “strong friendships.” You might want to dig a little deeper though and see if you can identify what you value the most. Is it your health? Is it love? Is it a successful business? One of your values will be a priority over another value.
If you have problems identifying your values, ask someone close to you what they think your values might be – I promise you the response will be worth hearing, especially if they have no idea. You’ll learn a lot there. The same goes for your business. A little bit of Whole Foods…for thought today.
by Lynnette Leathers CEO of Mindspot Research, a division of Mindspot, Inc.