Contributed by Kym Huynh, EO Melbourne Member, EO Global Communications Committee Member and Co-founder we teach me. Kym is fascinated by entrepreneurs and their journeys, so he asked EO members from various chapters to share their experiences.Read his previous post EO members want non-entrepreneurs to know about entrepreneurs and how they define success.
In part three of Kym Huynh’s Leadership Toolkit series, Kym asks successful entrepreneurs in EO chapters around the world: “How important are values? How do you get them active in your business?” Here’s what they share Content:
Never underestimate the power of simple words and simple ideas
When I took over the family business at the age of 25, my father advised me on these three philosophies: honesty, hard work and integrity. At the time, I thought they were “not profound” due to their simplicity.
However, when I conduct employee interviews, I find myself referring to and using them because they contain the qualities we look for in team members. Those who do not meet these values are not born and leave accordingly. These values are our guiding principles. I’ve found that over time, they manifest in our mission statement.
— Ai-Ling Wong, founder of EO Malaysia and The Decorateur
Values help clarify ambiguous questions
Whenever I have a question that needs to be answered, whether it’s a personal one or a business one, I mention values. Asking if a question aligns with my values tends to answer questions that I wouldn’t be able to answer with full confidence otherwise.
When I first learned about the importance of values in the workplace, I thought it would be fine if a decision hit three of the five value boxes. I learned quickly that if something doesn’t tick all five boxes (let’s say there are five values), the answer is no – no matter how attractive it looks, or how many people try to convince me not to this way.
The importance of values is a lesson I will always be grateful for.
—Andrea Grisdale, EO Italy, Founder and CEO IC Bellagio
The way you behave in business should extend to your personal life
Values, and how we choose to act according to them, are very important.
At home during the COVID-19-related lockdown, my kids have had the opportunity to learn about how their dad works. Through proximity, they listen to my calls, how I talk to others, how I listen to others, and how I treat others. So it’s important to me that the way I relate to people is the way I relate to my family – that is, that I respect them and treat them according to my values.
– David Fastuca, EO Melbourne, founder of Ambisie and locomotive
Clear values provide decision filters for everyone within the business
Understanding core values, authenticity, and “walking the talk” are the three most important traits I look for in business and personal relationships.
Everyone within a business needs to understand and embrace the values. A good touchstone is to call the business reception and see if the person who answers the call can share what the values are and what they mean.
At Zenman, we use our core values as a filter when recruiting new team members and as a reference when conducting quarterly reviews.
A business with clear values is one that provides decision filters for everyone within the business.
A castle with a weak foundation cannot be built
I think values are the foundation of business and life. When one’s values are unclear or lack awareness (weak foundation), one cannot build a castle.
Determining my values took years. I lean towards positive words that sound great but never hit the mark. It wasn’t until my fifth attempt that I stumbled upon a framework that worked: Think back to a time when you were very angry and think about why you felt that way. It will imply the core value being violated.
—Kym Huynh, EO Melbourne, Founder we teach me
Values provide guidance so everyone can succeed
Values are the foundation of our business and guide how we expect individuals to relate to each other so that everyone (employees, customers and the business) can be successful.
We live our values by:
- Screen employees for our values so that our employees are value-based
- Onboarding employees with our values
- Celebrating people living our values
- Mentoring people in real time when they don’t live up to our values
A great tool we use to make sure our values are put into practice is to keep track of all the stories that align with our values and share them widely across our business.
— Ron Lovett, EO Atlantic Canada, Founder Connolly Owens
Values are the foundation of any business
Our values - Fun, Integrity, Respect, Service and Trust First – are known and practiced by all employees.
I have a saying, “If you’re not in business for fun and profit, what the hell are you doing?” As a value, we strive to ensure that employees enjoy their environment and the people they work with, but we also want them to Being able to do a fair day’s work so that we can make a profit. For employees, the same statement is slightly different: “If you’re not a role you love and learn, what the hell are you doing?”
The pillar of all our values is Respect. We emphasize this value when onboarding new employees, and it’s usually the value we cite when firing employees. For example, if an employee steals from a company, it does not show respect for the company. If an employee beats another employee, it’s not showing respect to a colleague. If an employee swears by a supplier, it does not show respect for the supplier.
This article originally appeared on Kym Huynh’s Leadership Toolkit Blog and edited and republished here with permission.