Ask most small business owners what makes their company unique and they will tell you it boils down to the people and the culture. A great culture attracts both potential employees and clients. It is easy to maintain your culture when you have long time employees, but it is much harder when you have turnover or rapid growth. So what can you do to make sure your company remains true to its core?
Start with Core Values
Having clear, well defined values is more than just a mission statement you put on some obscure corner of your website. Sure it is nice to have a pretty poster with the values spelled out, but employees need to be able to express those values in their own words. Having common values does not mean people will be clones of each other. At Roundpeg, our team is comprised of people with very different views on a wide range of issues who are able to agree on our common values because they are a clear statement of how we operate, treat each other and our customers.
Our Core Values:
- Curious about the world – Excited to learn new things, meet new people and find new solutions
- Warm and welcoming – A cozy, comfortable, fun and welcoming place where there is always time for a trivia question or popsicle break as we get work done.
- Mutually invested in success Passionately working as partners with clients and coworkers, committed to delivering the best possible solution
- Resourceful and responsive Able to balance confidence and independence with the ability to incorporate feedback and input
Live the Values
Those values are a part of everything we do, from recruitment and on-boarding to performance evaluations and even and day to day operations. As we interview potential candidates we look for signs that the candidate shares those values. If they don’t there won’t be a seat for them at the Roundpeg table.
Our on-boarding process includes a discussion of our company culture and core values and performance appraisals include feedback on how well individuals exhibit the behavior. This is a critical step in maintaining our culture, even as key members leave. As the owner, the responsibility really falls on me to talk about the values in casual conversations and formal meeting so every team member, sees them actively woven into the fabric of Roundpeg.
Strategy sessions include conversations about how we can demonstrate those values in our interactions with clients and in our marketing. Our training and resource tools are a good example. They have evolved from our curiosity about the latest trends and our commitment to the success of our clients.
While we don’t chose to post our values on our website, in an effort to attract clients who share our values we work hard to demonstrate them in our website, social media, training programs, resources and podcasts. Why? Because we have seen that clients who are willing to take a ride with us, try new things, give us rapid and valuable feedback are the most fun to work with and typically the most successful projects. Great projects usually begin with clients who share our values.
Core Values Evolve
Seventeen years ago, I started the company with three core values: Creativity, Collaboration and Positive Energy. While the current list contains many things I didn’t envision back then, there are seeds of what I started with in the core values of the company Roundpeg has become.
If your company is growing, your values will evolve over time. As an owner you need to set the tone, but be willing to expand the definition to embrace the contributions of others to your culture. Your job is to find the balance.
Your values are just part of the equation of a successful business. For more on this topic check out this blog post on Mission, Vision, Values and Position Statements.