Company values – Short-term revenue versus long-term success?

Company values are discussed controversial. Some people (especially managers) like them – others (especially employees) hate them. Often enough they turn out to be not more than words – but if used wisely they guide a whole business and turn managers into leaders.

One question I repeatedly discuss and hear is

“Why should a company focus on values, culture and all this fluffy stuff? Revenue is what counts!”.

Well, allowing 30 seconds think time about this sentence leads you – perhaps – to agreement with the message in this sentence. If you allow some more time and take sustainability, long-term success and reasonable growth into account, the answer might be different.

Here is a great blog entry by Brent Gleeson: Never Sacrifice Values for Growth

My takeaway:

Core values of a company – or guiding principles – set a framework for your employees and yourself when acting in the mind of your business. Sit down at least once in your organization and think about what you really care about.

However, core values tend to become very easily buzz words. To prevent this, consider:

  1. Be authentic – only define the core values if you’re really willing to follow them and let them guide your daily work and behavior. They will form your company culture!
  2. Recruit wisely – let the values guide you in recruiting processes. Only if the candidate fits into your core value system – hire him/her.
  3. Share with clients – talk about your core values – share them with your customers. Like-minded customers will become even more loyal.
  4. Live the values – define them, know them and let them guide you!

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