Mission Statements are something most business owners know they are “supposed” to have and often get thrown together as part of the checklist when starting a business. However, Value Statements often get skipped entirely because they are misunderstood. While a Mission Statement is a formal summary of the aims and values of a company, organization, or individual, the Value Statement is the meat and potatoes that makes up the Mission Statement. So it could argued that the Values Statement is the place to start and then go for the Mission Statement. More importantly, it’s not just the Value Statement itself that is important but rather the process you experience when creating one. It forces the business owners, stakeholders and staff to take a deeper look into the WHY of the business which therefore provides the drive, the motivation and the feeling of success when you reach it.
Without a Values Statement the business and the people in it are essentially in the dark without a beacon to guide their decisions, their actions and they may be lost as to what is considered a success for either themselves or the business as a whole. If a team member is so focused on the profit of the business but a Core Value of the Company is “Service” there may be a conflict arising and it can quickly spread throughout the culture of the company.
So you may be asking “What is a Values Statement exactly and how do I create one?”. According to businessdictionary.com it is “A declaration that informs the customers and staff about the business’ top priorities and what it’s core beliefs are. Companies often use a value statement to help them identify and connect to targeted consumers, as well as to remind employees [and Owners] about priorities and goals”.
A value statement helps influence decisions and increases the ease and ability to be decisive, with the small day to day decisions as well as lofty decisions. According to an article in the Harvard Business Journal “What Sets Successful CEO’s Apart”, decisiveness is at the top, yet most of us struggle with this skill in all aspects of our lives. Business owners especially, as they feel like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders with every single decision and it’s always up to them to make it. The repercussions of a bad decision are terrifying and it’s not uncommon for the decision to never to be made out of fear of the result.
A value statement will help guide you forward and provide clarity when making decisions that will affect your day to day business as well as where your business is headed. Just like people change and grow, so will our businesses – if you are finding that things are not panning out how you would like them to, or you are noticing the things that were once important to you are no longer important, than it is time to review and reflect on your Core Values and perhaps modify your Values Statement. This should be done on a regular basis, at least annually. If nothing else, bring it up in a meeting to see how well the business and staff are reflecting those values through their actions and achievements and get their feedback on how to do better.
There are many ways to create a value statement, and I promise it’s not nearly as difficult as you might be thinking, just break it down. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Take a Values Assessment. You can locate one with the following link Uptowncoach.com/resources
- Think back to when you first set out to open your practice. You may have had a vision or a dream of having several locations with a boat load of employees, but as time has gone on and you had a family or connected more with what actually made you feel fulfilled, it may not align with having a bunch of locations and employees. The sooner you can identify that, the sooner you can keep your business on course with what is truly going to make you feel successful and fulfilled, which will trickle down to your employees.
- Spend some time as a team building event to talk about the values of your team and how that influences the practice. Figuring out what your employees value will guide you effectively as a Leader. If you do not know what’s important to them, and make assumptions that what drives you also drives them, it will create a mass breakdown of communication and leave a huge gap for frustration and misunderstandings. If an employee strongly values transparency but they feel as if there are secrets or lack of trust within the culture, they likely won’t thrive in your practice. Also, it provides a glimpse of understanding for the owner and managers to understand what may be bothering an employee, or how to show them gratitude. If the employee values connection versus praise, then the approach of having a more in depth conversation may work better than a group acknowledgement or a prize of sorts. *Uptown Coaching offers Values Workshops and coaching around this very thing.
Identifying your values and how they align with your business initiatives will keep you on track and less likely to end up in a place that looking back you have no idea how you got there or where you are headed next. It will also help steer your team and empower them to feel confident in making decisions rather than running to you every time something comes up. They will know what’s important to you, and you can trust that they will take care of it.
If you are suffering from some of the common complaints of other business owners, a Values Statement may be just what you need, or even better an Executive Coach to help you work through them. If you are experiencing:
- Wishing staff would take more initiative and make decisions on their own
- Feeling like you can’t focus, being pulled in a million directions, and struggling to make decisions for fear of it being the wrong decision or not having time to really think it through (Paralysis by analysis)
- Lacking a sense of Work/ Life balance and feeling burned out
Defining values helps to create accountability and empowerment in a more objective way. It provides a reference point that is the same for everyone within the business and it provides a light into the future to guide you where you want to go more purposefully.
Knowing your values also allows you to really focus on the big ticket items rather than getting distracting with all of the options and directions you could go. The world is a distracting place, the more honed in you are on what is important and what you want for the future of the business, the easier it is to evaluate opportunities and determine whether it is worth the resources necessary to invest in them or not. It’s easy to stay busy, it is not so easy to ensure that what is keeping you busy are the things that are going to provide you with a life of enjoyment and a successful business. A Value Statement can assist in keeping everyone on track to the outcome you have envisioned.