How to create a business culture / core values step by step?
Updated: Jul 4, 2021
I'm not a know it all. I'm no smart cookie.
All I want is to practice what I preach(ed) and test everything til it gives me the results and insights I'm happy with. And enables me to pass them on TO YOU.
This session is about building a business culture or, let's say brand. And I want to take you behind the scenes. So, all is new, all is in process, and before starting, I wanted to have it all in place. So, essential to me, and probably to you too, that's why you're here:
The business core values.
I finished and published them in under 2 hours, and a friend who's been building a business and who I asked for feedback. She was like,
"2 hours? You must be nuts, I've been trying this for months. Please show me how!"
So this is basically my answer to all of you who are struggling with this project core value/business culture creation.
And I've been there, struggling. But this time I just did stuff totally differently, and this time it just flowed. And I thought I'd share my process with you so that you can create your business, your heaven on earth.
Minus the mistakes I made, plus the insights I gained.
So, let's begin.
First: Let's clarify what core values of a business are?
Core values are the foundation of your business culture. You can have a wonderful purpose, a mission, a vision. But your values show yourself, your customers and everyone you work with how you roll.
It's your playbook.
And it's a check for everyone you collaborate with: Are we a match?
Look, this is personal. But I don't think business is doing it with everyone type of thing. To me, it only truly flows and works if we're a match. Literally, if we "work" together. Business to me is like family, friendship, partnership. I'm not friends with people who I don't like. It's people I value. And who share the same values like accountability or kindness. Or in my partnership, it's definitely respect, freedom, and understanding. This understanding and the process of becoming mindful will save you a lot of stress and overwhelm.
Makes doing business light and fun.
Common pitfalls of creating a culture, defining your core values, the playbook you live and do business by is the famous marketingbuzzwordtrap. And I'm not going to call out companies here. That's not what I do. To me, it's every company, every business who writes down empty words like "sustainability", "innovation", "systemic approach" on their website, in their mission statement howeveryoucallit. But then, when you ask the employees what do these words mean and what they mean to you personally, like identification wise: they don't know. And worse, that's the number one thing you must remember: They have no clue how they live them and take action.
So. Number 1 Principle when creating core values is:
Have a Definition and an Action plan for each.
I've been working for so many companies where people could recite the words, perfect robots. But could not give any reference on how this plays out in their company.
"Sustainable" how? "Innovation" how? And what do we actually mean by these words?
Words are great for communication.
But before you go public, you need to have a clear, crystal clear definition. And a strategy on how to take action upon each of them.
Make sure they are not pretty on paper. But real for everyone, especially for you if you are the owner. Make sure you don't copy-paste trending topics. Unless they truly mean something to you.
And don't be a perfectionist. Make it a process that, when your 3-6 core values are out, you test them, you live them, and tweak them. Don't be afraid of judgment. Invest your energy, your brain, and heart into finding YOUR truth and how they work for you.
How to create them?
That's what my friend wanted me to share here, after all.
To me, that was a process. Not very much business-focused, to be honest. Because my business is an extended version of myself. So it was a process of finding MY truth. How I want to live and therefore work because to me, it's all one. It's my time on earth, and I want to spend it making myself happy and creating value for others.
So, here are helpful questions and a process on how to get to your core values.
First: Make a list.
1. Ask yourself: What do I personally value?
What do I value in my friendships most? Colleagues? Family? Partnership?
Make a list and get inspired by free lists online called value overview or value list. Like this for example.
2. Then: Add how would you like to do business?
Dream big: What are the core values of the business you always wanted to work for?
How does this dream business roll? How does the team roll together? How does the team roll with other players?
Also, what were your best business experiences ever? Reflect, what values (hidden or on paper) were behind this awesome collaboration or work experience?
Add these values to your list.
Switch off your brain as much as possible because that gives you a truth that is probably again primed by marketing nonsense. Instead: Select the 3-6 values you FEEL most comfortable and truly happy with. What feels right and true to you?
And finally: How do you bring them to life?
For each of them, write down what your honest definition is, how you see it.
And then: how you will take action upon them.
Tadaaa. You've made it.
Honestly, that's the whole magic.
If you're a team, you can do this exercise together. Or, if later on, you have a team, give them the values as words and let them do their own definition and brainstorm their own actions. This is so much fun and so valuable if you want to create ownership and develop your company further.
You see, I have 6 right now, a perfect picture, and once everything is running, they will probably change and evolve over time. But it's the reference, backbone to everything you do and intend to do in the future.
To me, it feels super motivating and helpful. Because now I know how I want to spend my time, with whom and how.
And now. What about you? What are yours?
Have a wonderful creation time. You rock!
All my love and till soon, byebye