One of the very few upsides of getting on a bit in years is the ability to use some real-life examples to explain your take on issues, opportunities or to colour a message!
Here’s one for you:
Hot on the heels of me remotely watching some CEO’s struggling to put together their company values!
I sense them painfully thinking what they could or should stand for, liberating the creative ideas of others and bundling them together to create a utopian vision of what they think their companies should be saying it believes in!
This, however, is often at odds with the reality and much of what they actually do and how they behave!
I applaud the effort, of course I do but it makes me look back to my time at the “mothership”
Love or hate the success machine SThree was through the 80’s, 90’s & 00’s it was an amazing place to be!!!
We crushed it when it came to culture, a place where it was…
- Cool to be good
- Where “Team” was celebrated and multiple tribes competed against each other, but fought the world together as one!
- You had to do the right thing for your colleagues (help them without being asked to do it) truly supportive
- Highly disciplined and the rules came with consequences
- Fair and reasonable and consistently consistent
- Unquestionably meritocratic
- In the DNA to look after people
- The place where your real potential was maximised
- Not accepted to cruise and not give your best every day (but working hard would be rewarded brilliantly)
I don’t think anyone would challenge me on this! It was amazing, “the best of times” and so many of us are still friends and wear the invisible alumni badge with pride and fondness
The funny thing is all the way through those heady days we didn’t have a mission statement, values on the walls or fluffy videos “about us”, WE LIVED THE VALUES
- If THE top performer became a dick, they were sacked!
- There were consequences of “below the line behaviours” that applied to ALL
- Your 1st deal was given to you, then you had to do that for the next new person
- The newest person took responsibility to coach the next new one!
- If a big opportunity came in, we all dropped everything to help the one with the roles fill them (no splits)
- We had “one truth” which was the WHITE BOARD then became the CRM
- We never kidded ourselves and really did graft…
“What’s the time Ollie”
“I’m busy, I’ll tell you later”
I really believe true values that mean something are those based on actual behaviour not just words – those mean nothing to anyone; in fact, they turn people off!
If you get this right, it really is hard for people to leave YOU as the leader of said business!
And remember soft fluffy bollox does not make people money!
The staff you are lucky enough to employ have chosen you to be the person they trust in to drive their career faster than anyone else, there should be a virtuous contract whereby you don’t let them fail and push them to achieve more than they think possible (which requires you to make them train and try the clever stuff all the time) and their part being they are open till new ideas and graft harder than you expect of the again all the time!!!!
That is a marriage made in heaven!!!
Live your values, don’t just preach them.