Building Company Culture

by Brian Cavataio 05/30/2021

In business, values always come before culture. In Simon Sinek’s work, he offers a simple equation: values x behavior = culture. There is really no better way to say it.

However, when many businesses start to do the work of defining their values, many seem to think it’s a big, drawn-out thing that will take them months to find. This is categorically untrue. Values, in fact, are about those things you are already doing every day. Articulating these values is simply the first step towards expressing company culture, but it’s an important one. Before you can even begin to hire correctly, build your existing team, connect with your customers, or elevate your brand, your culture, and your values, must be established.

Why values come first: case study

So, let’s look at values; specifically, what they are and why they come first.

Let’s take a hypothetical team. The team is high-functioning and shares a common goal. They care a great deal about the work they do, and they are willing to go the extra mile to ensure that they deliver on customer expectations, even if this means putting in extra hours. Their shared work ethic and commitment had fostered a solid culture of trust and respect.

Where it all went wrong

A recent addition to the team is causing some disruption, and not because he is not qualified; on the contrary – he has stellar credentials and decent experience. On paper, he was an excellent addition to the team. However, it didn’t take him long to cause discontent among his teammates, simply because his values were in sharp contrast to the rest.

Though highly motivated, his motivation was of the ruthless, unapologetic variety. He was willing to do whatever it took—including stepping on the toes of his teammates—to get to the top of the corporate ladder. With this guy, there was no compromise. He was unwilling to share the wins and would often go overheads and behind backs to further his personal agenda.

Among the team, emotions were running high. Resentment, discontent, and infighting were rampant – something that had never been present before. This recruit was just not a good fit. If the company had been more clear about its values from the start, they likely would not have hired him at all.

What are workplace values?

Simply put, workplace values are the principles that guide the way you work. When values are well-defined, they can help you make decisions about many things, from how you serve your customers to how you shape your recruiting efforts.

Some examples of workplace values include:

  • Accountability
  • Making a difference in the world
  • Quality first
  • Honesty and reliability
  • Keeping promises
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Being of service to others
  • Respect for company policy
  • Respect for fellow employees
  • Tolerance
  • Inclusion
  • Diversity
  • Detail-oriented customer service

These values are what sets the stage for your company culture. While your employees can come from vastly different backgrounds and have different points of view, if they share your core values, your company’s vision and mission are aligned.

Hire with a focus on shared values

In conclusion, you can train for skills to help employees gain experience, but there is no replacement for a shared value system. If you hire people who are out of alignment with your values, it can cause great damage to even the most high-producing team. Defining your values and focusing on recruiting for fit will always bring the best results. 

If you would like to learn more, schedule a consultation today or call us at 913-225-9058.

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