The Danger of Not Identifying Your Company’s Values

September 2, 2016 | Roger and Susie Engelau

It turns out that having a handful of values that govern your organization is more than just a nice thing to do. They’re necessary. And when company values are created and instilled properly, the results can be revolutionary.

Businesses that have well-thought-out, meaningful values that truly guide the company’s actions are more profitable. 

Long-term business success isn’t random. It doesn’t come from luck. Being an entrepreneur takes strong character, the ability to withstand criticism, the capacity to take risks, and a deep faith that helps you stay the course when the going gets tough. That kind of strong character is grounded in a handful of ethical values that cause you to look beyond just making profit.

How do values lead to profit and business success?

If values like honesty, integrity, innovation, respect, and charity are at the heart of the organization, they’re used in every aspect of running your business:

  • They provide a safe space where everyone can react and discuss openly, so better ideas and solutions are generated.
  • Employees can predict how you’re going to respond because they know your behaviors are constrained by those values, so there’s a high degree of both confidence and trust.
  • When people are of one mind in a culture of shared values, they function together, so there’s better teamwork.
  • When you hire people who share your company values, they believe in what you’re doing and they take responsibility, so you’re not the hardest working employee in the business.

Creating a list of values can be a hallow exercise and for some companies, Enron an obvious example, it is. Many business leaders have developed and publicized their company values, especially since it became popular in the 1990’s, but if their primary value is profit, then loyalty and teamwork can’t last long. If a business owner is motivated by greed, ingratitude, and selfishness, people eventually stop taking responsibility for quality products and customer interactions, leaving a trail of ill will with customers and employees. In this kind of company culture, people don’t work well together. Instead, they take what they can for themselves, as modeled by company leadership. These companies are parasites on society and we’ve seen plenty of them come and go thanks to negative values that had been established by the company—whether intentionally or not.

Doing business with virtuous values not only helps your company, but it also makes the world a better place. Strong, successful businesses create strong, successful communities. Good business owners are the building blocks of robust communities, where superior schools, thriving churches, prolific arts, beautiful places to live, work, shop, and play abound and where crime, poverty, and health problems are minimized.

In his book Doing Virtuous Business,  Theodore Malloch says, “Virtuous enterprise accomplishes two enormously important things: it makes the world in which we live a better place, and it makes our businesses far more successful, more profitable than they otherwise would be.”

Do you need help developing your business’ values? Determining your company’s values is just one section of my quarterly 1-day workshop where business owners from every industry come together and help each other complete their 1-Page Operating Plans. I invite you to join us. The day includes short educational periods, work in small groups, and a nice hot lunch together.

Thur., Sept. 29, 2016, 9 – 4 pm
Hilton Garden Inn Indianapolis Airport, 8910 Hatfield Dr., Indianapolis  46231

Register for this quarter’s Growth Plan Business Planning Workshop now.

You’ll walk away with your values clearly spelled out plus:

  • A clear picture of where you want your business to be in 3-5 years
  • Your 12-month goals broken into bite-size quarterly goals, monthly milestones, & weekly actions
  • Strategies to build your profits right away
  • A network of like-minded business owners

Cost is $497 at the door, $347 in advance, and FREE for business coaching clients. Register before Sept 26, enjoy the Early Bird price of $197.

In the meantime, here’s a list of 500, yes 500, values to ponder!