by Michael Manning, chief relationship officer at Rocksauce Studios
No matter your age, just about everybody loves the Beatles. But can your company learn from the Fab Four’s success?
Of course, John, Paul, George, and Ringo had the swinging outfits and the screaming fans. But up until the very end, they also shared a key element that helped them stay together as a collective. It’s their core — their values, their sound, their style. Even when their tastes expanded and drifted apart, they always knew how to build a cohesive core.
It’s only when the whole team is singing in harmony that you’ve got a chance at making it big.
Core values are not buzzwords or one-size-fits-all manuals for how to run your company; they are the driving forces behind your organization. They create your culture. They fuel your goals. And if those core values — those driving forces — are different for every team member, your company will soon break apart.
Most importantly, core values are unique to every organization, so creating them should be a team effort.
Where Core Values Start.
At Rocksauce Studios, we began by sitting down with every team member and asking, “What would you say are your core values?” and “What are the values of Rocksauce?”
We then worked on cementing our mission statement by establishing a list of the core values that collectively define who we are, how we work, and what we’re trying to achieve as a team.
Once we had everyone involved, that list came pretty easily:
- Happiness: We strive to deliver excellence by following best practices and being positive.
- Honesty: We respect others through truthfulness in our actions and words.
- Empathy: We understand one another to achieve common goals.
- Loyalty: We respect our traditions and cultivate a sense of belonging to something greater than ourselves.
- Passion: We demonstrate devotion in all that we do.
Once we’d fashioned our set of core values, our biggest challenge was determining how to integrate them into our daily structure. This takes some time. It’s about forming habits around values, creating new strategies to encourage a daily routine, and making sure the routine feels natural and productive rather than forced.
How to Practice a ‘Core Value’ Culture.
Core values aren’t just for the outset of your company’s journey. Here are five simple strategies from the Fab Four that you can implement in your company’s daily life to establish a solid connection between your work and your core values:
1. Get the band together for regular jam sessions. A 2013 studylooked at workers at an Iranian steel company to see how important it is for company values to align with personal values. The study found that “better alignment increases the chance of accomplishment,” which, in turn, leads to lower costs, more engagement, and a sense of pride.
Core values need to be discussed and celebrated at regular intervals — just as your team discusses deadlines and celebrates results. So insert core values into your annual reviews, monthly check-ins, and even daily round-ups. We host community service projects, too, such as food drives and mentoring clubs for kids to learn how to code. These activities help us remember to be empathetic — one of our core values.
Take the time to ask employees how they’re prioritizing and what their values are right now. Make sure these values still align with your company’s core.
2. Celebrate your bass player. When you see that team members are practicing core values, make sure you praise them, clarifying which value has been demonstrated and how. Recognition breeds pride and morale.
Remember that value-based recognition is about celebrating the “how” of the task rather than the “what” or the “why.” Show your team members how their value-driven work is contributing to your company’s success so they can feel responsible and important.
We created an employee engagement program to help us log achievements and share recognition. The program includes categories that complement our key values so we can give shout-outs and perks to those awarded the highest in each category.
3. Bring in new members who feel the beat. Once you’ve collected your core values and have started celebrating them in daily life, it’s time to bring those values into the interview room. Consider core values when you make hiring decisions. With values and culture baked into the hiring process, you’ll start naturally selecting candidates who embody your culture.
4. Be a lead singer, not a limelight hog. The best way to encourage employees to live and work by their core values is to lead by example. Don’t be a core value overseer. Don’t peer over your employees’ shoulders to see whether their inboxes align with your core values. Instead, embody those values, and show them how it’s done.
5. Celebrate good times! Come on! All important things should be actively remembered and celebrated. Have an anniversary or a special day when you and your team celebrate those core values that define you. Ours is called “Rocktober.” We invite clients, vendors, neighbors, and a wish list of potential clients to come hang out with us at our offices and have a good time, encouraging loyalty and happiness — two of our core values.
Build your band as you build your brand. Celebrate and practice core values as a team to encourage collaboration and stay united on your way to success. And if you want to buy matching outfits for your next jam session, that couldn’t hurt.
Are there any other ways your company lives out its core values? I’d love to talk about them in the comments!
Michael Manning, chief relationship officer at Rocksauce Studios, joined the team to bring her considerable marketing, analytical, and relationship skills to the team. As chief relationship officer, she leads the charge on invigorating the company’s loyalty, happiness, and customer engagement from within.