Jessica Powell, the former Google vice president who wrote The Big Disruption and told you how to quit your job, is here to answer your common but tricky work questions. Check back every other week for more management advice with a tech inflection.
When my co-founder and I first started our company, we never talked about things like “values.” It was just a small group of us, we had a clear problem we were trying to solve, and we all knew each other. Now we’ve grown larger, and I think we need to find a way for new employees to understand what we care about. What’s the best way to do that?
Whether you’re just forming your company or are already a few years in, articulating your company values is a good exercise to undertake.
You may be thinking, “Okay, our value is to make as much money as possible.”
Kudos to you for your clarity and focus!
But you might want to expand on that just a bit. The thing is we spend most of our day at work, and most people are not making millions of dollars at their jobs. So, if you want a motivated workforce, you probably need to look beyond just monetary reward. Similarly, it’s hard to keep people motivated for the long term with just a technical or business problem to solve. Particularly as you grow and your employees’ job scopes become narrower, you need something larger for your people to plug into.
I don’t fault anyone their boldness or passion, but you need more than that.
That said, I can’t tell you how many startups I’ve been to where the company has paid a lot of money to have their values painted or posted all over the place. And what are these values? Things like: Be bold! Be passionate! Be passionately bold!
I don’t fault anyone their boldness or passion, but you need more than that. Empty slogans aren’t motivating, and they don’t tell anyone — inside or outside your company — what you really believe in.
This is where your values come in. People call them all sorts of things, but at their essence, your company/corporate/core values are the fundamental beliefs that underpin your business. This plays out…