One of the most interesting and sometimes difficult question a business owners should answer as they write their first business plan is this:What are your company values?

This is different then your mission, which is why the business exists or your vision, which is a snapshot of where you will be in five years.Values are about the core or soul of your business.

When I started Roundpeg, I envisioned a team building and strategic planning company. The values were a direct extension of me:  Creativity, Collaboration and Positive Energy.    Those where my three words.  Ok, so positive energy is two words, but really one idea.

Each year, I rewrite my business plan. Each year I looked at those same three words as the core of Roundpeg. But in 2012, it is time for a change.  As part of a half day planning session with my sales coach, Matt Nettleton, the team discussed this idea of three words at length. We came up with a very different list.

We decided in our business creativity is a given, not a core value, because it is but fundamentally what we sell. Saying we were creative was like saying a shoe factory sold shoes. Of course we are creative, otherwise we would have no business at all.  Our core values are what separates us from our competitors, what defines  “roundpeg”. We came up with three words:

Teamwork, Integrity & Passion

Teamwork:  It defines who we are, and how we work. Although we have specializations, we each jump in and help the other team members, taking care of clients and balancing the work load. And when we collaborate wonderful things result. The feeling of teamwork extends beyond just us, it includes our clients and strategic partners, they are all part of the Roundpeg Team.

Integrity: This is about doing what we say we will do, living up to agreements, promises and commitments to clients and to each other. It is about doing the right thing, even when business standards would allow you do to less.

Passion: Each of us loves what we do. It is not about going through the motions and collecting a paycheck. We could all probably make more money elsewhere.  It is about doing what we love, with people we love being around. People who say ” I wouldn’t mind doing that” in an interview don’t get hired at Roundpeg.

Those are our three words.  They reflect a very different company from the one I started ten years ago. There is still fun, creativity and positive energy, but there is more.  After ten years, there should be.