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New Year is the perfect time to review, define company values

December 29, 2010 | By Bruce Hourigan | No Comments

Values might seem like an old-fashioned word. Really, values are about the principles and ethics that guide our everyday choices, whether at work, home or dealing with others. It’s not about religion or political affiliation or the like, although certainly, those may help us develop our personal code of values.

It may sound strange, but a business has values, too. They’re what guide the staff of the company in its dealings with employees, customers, vendors, the community and others. When leadership doesn’t delineate and express the company’s values, staff members are left to try to figure out for themselves what the right thing is to do in any situation. And that might not be the same as what the owner would do.

Does your business represent the values you want it to? Get started on the right path by doing the following:

  1. Figure out what your own personal values are. Many of us have a vague idea of what moral code we live by and what we consider ethical. Formalize yours and put it in writing. Come up with situations you face regularly and decide what helps guide you in choosing the right path. What traits are intolerable? What type of behavior is mandatory?
  2. Ask your staff for input. Have an open mind. Your team may come from different backgrounds than you. Ask questions to see how people would deal with various ethical situations. Find out what values are most important to your staff and how they incorporate them into their decision-making. Ask each person to make a list of his or her most important values, and how they incorporate them into their lives.
  3. Define the terms. With your staff’s assistance, come up with definitions for the terms on the list, such as honesty, truth, kindness to all, and the like. Is there a difference, for example, between lying and telling a half-truth? Come up with the definitions together.
  4. Make a final list of your company values. Use your staff’s input but understand that this is your business. The values you choose are ultimately the ones you most believe in and want practiced in your salon or spa. Make the list easy-to-understand. Don’t have too many. Make sure that you can explain how each can be lived in day-to-day life at your business. That way, everyone knows what behavior is acceptable – and why.
  5. Review the list with your staff. Post it prominently. Keep the conversation open and ongoing. Review it at staff meetings. Discuss how certain actions exemplify the values on the list. Be proud of your values.

        Having a set of values is more than just a list on the wall. You don’t want to live by one code of ethics at home and another in your business. It’s important to live your values every day, and make sure that your staff does, as well. It makes for less stress, less conflict and more balance, at home and at work.

        Categories: Business Builders

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