“Grit”, “Hustle”, “Grind”: 70’s disco movie, or 2010’s startup? Though we gritted, hustled and ground our way through the ping pong (and beer pong) days of startup life, life at work is trending a little more authentic these days. Folks are quitting in droves for better work life balance, international pay, or the ability to stay remote. It’s an employee/candidate market, and working people into the (catered, brick and beam) floor is no longer the move. Plus, we’ve all been through it.
If you haven’t taken a look at your company values since pre-pandemic days, now might be a great time.
We’re often asked if we help companies (and clients) define their values, and the answer is no. We’ve tried it before, but my belief and experience is that this is something that can’t really be captured externally. If a company is truly unable to define exactly what it is that they stand for, no external consultant (no matter how talented) is going to be able to help. Most founders find writing their values a daunting task, but there’s a simple formula: capture reality, then adjust for ambition.
Here’s what I mean: to capture reality, run a simple survey asking folks what words they’d use to describe the culture. To jog their thinking, you might ask how decisions are made here, how they’d compare the org to others they have experience with, and what types of people and working styles really work here (and really don’t). Compile the answers and trends, and sit with them as a leadership team. You don’t want to stop here– it’s your job as a group to define the future, not just the present. What about your results do you really want to encourage and keep, and which don’t feel like where you want to be headed next?
From there, you can create a list of north star values that both reflect reality and help people align towards what’s coming. Be sure to give plenty of examples of how to live those values in action, and tie them to your other people processes like hiring, performance reviews and more. It’s a lot of work, but the hustle is worth it.
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On our radar:
Inspired by the Bright + Early Better Workplaces Fund? Our friends at Give have launched Give For Work, where you can create your company’s own custom charitable fund, facilitate employee donation matching, and more.
Thanks for reading, and have a bright weekend.