Business Values Are The First Step To Success

Can writing down your values help eliminate chaos?

Your immediate answer maybe no, but I’ve found the opposite to be true. Values that are clearly articulated and properly used in a business will remove many subtle hurdles. These subtle hurdles compound to create a level of chaos that is hard to remove without going down to the very base of a company’s foundation. 

I am not the only one to think so. Harvard Business Review has almost 5,000 (4,951 on the day I checked) articles and case studies that focus on Values and Strategy. Some of the case studies are very intriguing. How does a food and beverage company grow rapidly during an economic downturn? I’ll give you a hint, it involves values. 

Company values are part of the foundation needed to have a successful business. 

Values should be defined and communicated by founders and senior leaders. Core Values should guide every decision in the organization. If the business moves in a direction that conflicts with the core or stretch values then it is time to re-evaluate either the strategy or the stated values. It is not wrong to change your values or change your strategy. But your values and strategy have to be in alignment for your business to succeed in the long term. 

Defining values for your company doesn’t have to be difficult, although a few factors can cause the task to be burdensome. These factors include the age and maturity of the business, number of employees, size and diversity of the leadership team, and variety of the operations. A small, local business that is run by the founder can often work through the process in less than a day. 

Different Types of Values

There are three types of values you need to think about for your business. You do not have to define each kind, but it is important to distinguish between them to understand the difference.

Understood Values: Values that are baseline to most businesses and understood to be in the market. Things like Honesty and Respect usually fall into this category. If a business openly advertised as not being honest, would you do business with them? It is best to define these and understand them but not to spend too much time dedicated to them. The open market and your company culture should actively weed out anything that is not congruent with understood values. 

Stretch Values: Values that you wish to hold in your company but you do not currently have are called stretch values. These values can be aspirational and are good to hold in the minds of your leadership team and employees. Your current decisions and strategy may not reflect stretch values due to your business model, the economy, or other hindrance. Working these values takes time and effort and usually a culture change within your organization. Stretch values should be part of your vision casting and future dreams of your company. 

Core Values: Core Values are deeply ingrained and not compromised in your business. These are the values you should spend the most time and energy on. These are above and beyond the Understood Values and are specific to your business. Core Values, when used and communicated properly, give your employees a sense of security and belonging. Core Values are the building blocks of your culture. 

Defining and following your company values will decrease the chaos and increase your success and satisfaction. You shouldn’t let your strategy, culture, and success be left up to chance. Spending time on your values is the first step to reaping the rewards of a successful business foundation.

Not sure where to start on defining your values?

You can easily define values for your business. Use the form below to get my FREE list of over 475 values to begin choosing which ones are right for your company. 

Out of Alignment: A Personal Story

Goals are a tool used to get you from where you are to where you want to be. Goals and motivations are linked and they won’t be very effective without each other. If you set your goals based on the wrong motivations then you will not be satisfied when you reach your goals. In fact, I’ve found that if your motivation is not true, you may not even make it to your goal. The same is true in your business. If goals, vision, structure, etc. are not aligned then you will not find success. That’s why our web address is “Align To Succeed.”

Think about when the wheels on your car are out of alignment. You have to pull the steering wheel to keep the car going where you want it to go. It takes extra effort to drive to your destination if your car is not aligned. Tires will be worn, low gas mileage and overall poor performance result from your wheels being out of alignment. This is exactly how it happens in your life.

This happened to me several years ago. I set a goal to run a marathon (http://okcmarathon.com) and was prepared to do it. I had run the half marathon the year before (this was the furthest I had ever run) and I was prepared to make it the whole 26.2. I had all the gear: running shoes, running tights, gloves, reflectors, bluetooth earbuds… I had the schedule: training, rest, cross training, etc. I even had the accountability. I told friends and family; I had a coworker running the same training schedule. Everything was set, planned and ready for a huge goal. Then I skipped a run, or two. I didn’t stretch enough or properly. I dropped a cross training day. But I was okay, I could get my long run in on Saturday and be back on track. And I did, for a while. My knee started to hurt, a lot! I dropped my long runs in favor of not being in pain all the time. I could run if I stopped to stretch every couple of miles. I was miserable. I wasn’t going to achieve my goal and I was struggling to accept my defeat. I went to the race that year but I ran the half marathon instead of the whole 26.2 miles. I failed to reach my goal.

2015 marathon picAfter my disappointing half marathon.

Don’t let the smile fool you, I was in pain!

Why did I fail? My goal of a marathon was misaligned with the rest of my life. Hindsight is great; now that I look back I know exactly why I didn’t succeed. I wanted to run a marathon to check off a box. I wanted to run a marathon for the sake of running a marathon. I didn’t really have any other motivation than that. And that wasn’t enough. When sleep was an option, or I was in pain, or my kids wanted to play I chose the things that had a true motivation in my life rather than the misaligned goal of a marathon.

Don’t get me wrong: I think running a marathon is a noble thing and I still would love to complete it someday. At that time, I was not in a place where a goal with such a huge commitment was properly placed in my life. When I’m ready, I’ll run a marathon someday.

Doing what it takes to achieve your goals will mean sacrifice. It does not matter what your goal is if you aren’t prepared to pay the price to reach it then it will not be worth it. Jesus tells the story like this, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’” (Luke 14:28-30) Jesus says if you aren’t willing to sacrifice then you can’t be his disciple. The same teaching applies to our goals. The cost of achieving your goals means sacrificing other things. It could be money, time, family, career, enjoyment, comfort, or something else. If what you sacrifice is aligned with your values and closer to your motivations then your goal will rip you apart from your true self.

You don’t have to let this happen to you or your business. Align the vision, structure, and systems in your business to lead you to success. When it gets tough, and it will, you will be ready to face the adversity because you know your goals support where you want to go.

 

(This post was originally published on philklutts.com)

Introducing the CK Group

There are many ways to find success in your business. I’ve had personal success being self-employed, in small business, and in a Fortune 200 company. Success has looked different in each situation and it must take different forms based on where, how, and who is involved. If you own or run a small business then it is up to you to drive success in your business.

I want to help you find that success.

My desire to help others started when I was young and has taken many different forms throughout the years. I started my career as a Personal Trainer, helping others reach their health and fitness goals. It took a deep level of passion to find clients, understand their goals, design plans, then coach clients to success. I loved it but felt there was more I could to do help people. From there I transitioned to an emergency medical technician, helping others in their most vulnerable health and safety situations. I learned a lot about training, systems, preparation, and perspective. The work of an EMT was fulfilling but I found that I missed the business aspect.

I went back to school to learn more about business and earned an MBA from Oklahoma Christian University. Since then I’ve spent over a decade working in business. I find great satisfaction in business by building value, streamlining operations, creating and communicating vision, and more. I’ve found there are two things that must happen to create the most success in business: Creating Clarity and Eliminating Chaos.

My goal for this website and my company, CK Group LLC, is to help you eliminate chaos and create clarity in your business.

As much as I enjoy it, I don’t spend my entire life in business. I spend as much time as I can with my beautiful wife and 2 strong boys. We play, camp, learn, travel, and so much more together. You can find some of our adventures over at OkieCamping.com.