How A Strong Set Of Values Changes The Game
Next month sees the launch of something very exciting for RedWizard – our new website. It’s been a long time coming and to say that we’re excited would be an understatement. But despite its new look and feel, it’s not just a matter of upgraded URLs and fancy design – in fact, it’s the very opposite. Because when we decided we needed a new website, we sat down, talked through our business and decided that we really needed to grow and develop from the inside out. So when it goes live next month, you’ll be seeing a reflection of the inner work we’ve done to really define our identity, our solutions and, most of all, our values.
Values really are everywhere and form a critical part of selling anything, from a product to, well, yourself. In fact, quirky newcomers to the dating app market, such as Hinge, require you to make stand-out statements or disclose passionate dislikes, while Facebook has a range of profile picture frames designed to showcase your dedication to a whole different range of causes. Indeed, an individual’s values are now up there with hobbies and education as a dating site metric, making clear that what we believe is as much a factor as what look like, do, or enjoy.
And it seems we want to feel the same way about our coffee as we do our life partner. In fact, a recent study found that 66% of consumers say it’s important for brands to take a stand on the social and political issues of the day, which makes marketing said coffee about much more than the (organically and ethically grown) beans. In fact, we don’t just want to buy a product any more; we want to identify with it, understand it and believe that we share similarities. But while the idea of values is now deeply engrained, it’s not actually that old. The earliest example of a company living the virtuous dream was Ben & Jerry back in 1978, whose counter-culture approach of caring for the environment, their people and even the cows who provided the milk, caused consternation from many who thought that such an approach was naïve. Values next sprang up in a 1994 business book called ‘Built To Last,’ and that was the real launch-pad for the business values we see today.
But values are not just an exercise in box-ticking, nor for appealing to the customer conscience. Get them right, and you’re directing your focus, defining your goals and building a savvy business template that will enable you to not only survive – but thrive. And if dark times do hit, a good set of values can help reset the company compass to enable it to maintain stability and vision whatever the corporate weather.
Your people matter
But it’s not just about appealing to the market; values also work internally – employees can be united and galvanised by their company’s vision of itself, so when you’re thinking about creating them, it’s not simply to appeal to your customers – it’s for your people, too. Companies who get their values right, such as SalesForce, who define themselves as an ‘Ohana’ – Hawaiian for ‘family’ – of trailblazers, can – and do – enjoy dramatic success, partly through motivating and trusting their people to live their aspirational and tangible values.
Another company who motivates their people in innovative ways is Johnson & Johnson who are famous for, among other things, their ‘credo.’ An eloquent piece of prose which details their commitment and their promises, both internal and external, this new way of detailing values provides a comprehensive template that guides decision-making, behaviour and attitude, and all with integrity.
When it goes wrong
Those who get it wrong, of course, come in for heavy criticism, such as Facebook, who recently entered choppy waters when their recalcitrant stance over Donald Trump’s infamous tweet about ‘when the shooting starts, the looting starts,’ caused very real problems. Refusing to take it down from their platform, despite espousing ‘focusing on impact’ and ‘building social value,’ the social media giant clearly couldn’t put its money where its mouth was, and competitors, such as Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, who said, ‘Fact check; there is someone ultimately accountable for our actions as a company, and that’s me,’ rushed to condemn them.
Back at RedWizard HQ, our decision to change our values was not taken lightly, and we’ve worked hard to get ours right; after all, as with a lot of business-speak, it’s easy to get them wrong, whether there are too few, too many, or too many without meaning – after all, words are cheap, so they’ve got to be livable – and believable.
We want to be friendly, rather than faceless, and bold rather than bland, so here we are, a company whose values – and people – are uniquely tied together with the following five attributes that are reflected in how we live, work and play.
Visionary – whether the day is dragging or not, we are in this for the long haul, as are you; after all, no company has ever decided to work for a set number of years and then close, right? We are constantly creating our own futures and with optimism and the right strategies, companies can – and do – last for generations. So, we look ahead to solve not only your issues, but to work with you to develop powerful, resilient and agile strategies that will support you for years to come.
Flexible – as we’ve seen with Covid-19, things can – and do – change quickly, so an agility of response, resource and attitude is now fundamental to any company’s success. Contact us, and you’ll get a quick response. We are accessible, immediate and quick to understand your needs. We shape ourselves to you – not the other way round, and being small but mighty means that this has always been in our DNA.
Passionate – working with people on the sensitive and crucial journey through change cannot be done successfully as ‘just a job.’ It has to be your vocation, the thing you feel most curious about, and are deeply passionate over. We’re in this because we feel this stuff in our bones. And if you’re reading this, then we think that you do, too.
Bold – being a small fish in a big pond means we have to have a loud voice, a big wave and a bold reach to make ourselves visible and viable. And so, we show up, stand up and speak up to deliver the very best business change solutions and services.
Collaborative – few things in life can be done truly well without collaboration, and we truly believe in the power of the plus one. We want to work with our clients, pitching in together to understand their pain points and make them ours. A combination of external support and internal experience brings together everything that’s needed to find the right answer, and our approach to creating an eco-system of like-minded business change professionals means that we are connected to a thriving talent pool who can help in delivering the dream.
And, of course, we don’t just live these values when we come to work; we live them, too. From our visionary gardener whose five-year plan for her outside acres is as ambitious as any business to our collaborative rower who needs seven other people to also climb out of bed on a cold, wintry morning to be able to get on the water; we’ve chosen those values that we know inside out, from the 9-5 and straight through the weekend, too. So, having read about our values, what are yours? It’s a good exercise to strive to define yourself by those key principles, beliefs and philosophies which matter most to you. Try it as an experiment and see what you come up with – and as ever, let us know; we’d love to hear your thoughts!