It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.”
We’ve all felt it: the feeling that whatever we are doing, or about to be doing, doesn’t align with our values. Even themostly clueless, who are unaware of the emotions that go on around them, who spend no time thinking about values, can still feel off when something isn’t aligned.
An awareness of our core values is vital when we need to access ourinner decision-making compass. It’s just that simple. I bet you’d prefer to jump right into the business planning, or the discussions about how to split equity, oreven your exit strategy.
I promise you that making time for this touchy-feely values stuff first will prove invaluable down the line.
Why Think About Your Core Values?
Core values are the beliefs and principles that ultimately drive your decisions when the shit is hitting the fan. Statedsimply:our core values help us determine right from wrong.
Sure, that is easy stuff, most of the time, and for most of us it is innate. But how will you decide what clients or work to take? Or handle the repercussions of challenges in deliverables?
Your values will be infused into your company and its culture. A company culture takes shape very quickly, and the biggest influence on that culture will be the values of its founder.
Like it or not, the fundamental “core” beliefs of any person or organization is clearly apparent in every single move that is made, every word that is uttered (by you or anyonerepresenting your company), and even every subtle attitude that is felt by a client.
I have seen it many times - an idea becomes a concept, the concept becomes a solution that someone buys, this turns into a startup. The startup turns into a business that - despite experiencing success - implodes. Dealing with the demand in business took priority over focusing on core values, so conflicting messages were baked into the product or the company from the foundation up. Employees didn’t know how to base the important decisions - or worse, didn’t realize that the business they now have conflicts with their own values.
So basically, if you don’t know what your values are you will f*** up your business before it even gets off the ground.
What if I think This Values Stuff is Stupid?
Then someday either not having values, or having made up, checking-the-box values will bite you in the ass. I get it. You don’t have time for this boring corporate, touchy HR BS stuff. You are working on more important things and don’t have time for figuring out the values you want to inspire.
Someday when your business idea becomes a business, and you have employees, The Man will come knocking on your door, likely because an employee was following the example you set, or (poorly) winging it because the company’s values system wasn’t impressed upon them.
Or you peek outside your door and don’t recognize your own company anymore, it is because it wasn’t built on your values, people weren’t hired by them, process weren’t created with them, customers aren’t managed by them.
Do you want to be the outsider in your own company because you didn’t set the pace from the beginning, with your own values?
It’s never too early to determine what your core values are. Take the time to do it NOW.