Since last week, the 7Geese team has been meeting up to discuss our Core Values. The purpose of the meeting was to evaluate our company’s core values to make sure they reflect our company’s culture and vision. Many people would argue that your core values should be fundamental to your business and that you should not be changing them. However, I like to think of a business as an individual. You start with the values that your parents and family believe in. As you grow, your world opens up to new beliefs. You make mistakes and you learn from them. The same goes for a company. The CEO transfers his/her vision and values as the company’s core values. As you expand, you hire new people with unique personalities. Your business rides the ups and downs of the economy. How you grow from these experiences needs to be reflected in your core values.
I have written blog postings on how to define company’s core values, how to communicate them, and why to implement them with your hiring process and recognition program. Although the extensive knowledge acquired on core values is great, I wanted to be able to experience how a company would tackle the process of re-aligning their core values and the potential obstacles they may face. Our team has realized that we should put into practice what we preach. 7Geese has been running its operations for couple of years now. We have added new members to the team. We have hit important milestones. Our CEO, Amin Palizban, felt that it was time for us to sit down and evaluate whether our core values still hold true today as it did on day one.
Amin involved the whole team during the process of re-evaluating the company’s core values. The reason is that your people are the ones who are carrying your core values and culture throughout the company. They should have a say on the core values which form the essence of the company. By engaging your employees in the process, you also gain more insights on how they perform their daily tasks and how they see the company. For example, speed was one of the core values 7Geese started with. We want to be able to deliver features that suit our clients’ business needs as soon as possible. The development team shared that although they took sense of urgency very seriously, what was most important was high standards. Even today, we do not compromise the quality of our features for the sake of deploying them on time. Through this process, we realize that we run a business which revolves around always delivering the best quality. High Standard is now one of our core values.
We went through each of our existing core values and asked ourselves a set of questions that would help us determine how fundamental these values are to us. After each question, I have added the reason why we have chosen them.
In my job, can I show behaviours that are aligned with our core values?
7Geese is a strong advocate of creating recognition programs based on the company’s core values. For members to be recognized, they are encouraged to demonstrate behaviours that fit our core values. We want to make sure that each team member has an equal chance of getting recognized at work for their contributions to the organization’s objectives.
What are the examples of behaviours that would demonstrate the core values?
Personally, this question was my favourite as it was interesting to listen to the different ways how each team member could behave. For example, Passion is one of our core values. I show passion in my job when I talk to people at networking events about our company and what our vision is. Max, our front-end developer shows passion in his job by learning how to integrate 7Geese with Chrome through an extension on his own because he truly believes that it will make the product better.
When we hire new team members, is it fundamental that they accept our core values?
As we grow in size, we will gradually be adding new people to our team. This question encourages us to look ahead and to reflect on what our bigger team will look like. 7Geese hires based on culture fit, not on the job fit. Therefore, by asking ourselves this question, we reflected on whether we absolutely needed the new hires to demonstrate each of our core values before we hire them.
If we started your own company tomorrow, would you use our existing core values?
This question was more centered on each individual rather than the team. It allows us to brainstorm for other core values that each of us may believe more into. If we did not use the company’s core values, what else would we add for our own individual business? It is an opportunity for each of us to see how much we do value the company’s core values.
Would we still have those core values if 7Geese was going through a difficult phase?
Although I agree that core values should be re-evaluated after important milestones, they should still hold true when your company is going through a rough patch. 7Geese went through hurdles that many startups experience. If we were not passionate about our jobs or the company, all of us would already have left 7Geese and would find a more stable company to work for. We stick together during the hard times because we all share the same passion.
After three meetings, we are still determining what our core values are at 7Geese. All of the team members are actively engaged in the conversation as we all want the best for our company. We brainstorm together and bounce off each other’s ideas. Our team left the meetings with a deeper understanding of what each of our core values represent. Having a team that is aligned with your company’s vision and core values is priceless. I encourage you to start having Core Values meetings with your team. You will be pleasantly surprised at the outcomes.Tags: company's core values, corporate core values, defining your core values, employee engagement, how to conduct a core values meeting, startups core values