To build a successful company, you need to satisfy your clients or customers and make a profit.
Sounds good, but that's not enough. Your company also needs to define its core values, expressing why you are in business.
First, distinguish between core and aspirational values. The former explains who you are and what you believe in. These define everything you do, and they never change. The latter reflect visions the company wants to achieve.
At my firm, for example, we envision an educated and financially secure America. That's an aspirational value. At our core, though, we promote STAR: Steward, Teach, Act, and Relationship. Each of these values are explained by several statements--such as "I am accountable to clients and fellow employees" under Steward and "We simplify the complicated" under Teach. These reinforce the values that all our employees must follow. It's a simple but explicit way we help our clients reach their financial goals--and it helps us achieve our aspirational value.
Once you've articulated your value statement, embed it in everything you do. Put it on your website, weave it into your marketing materials, frame it on the walls of your office, and integrate it into every process, from new-hire orientation to performance reviews to promotions. Use your values as a metric to evaluate bonuses or raises. Make sure your training and retraining efforts use it too.
Promoting your values throughout your organization can help your employees focus on their goals. It will also give your clients and customers confidence, as they'll understand you better.
If you want to strengthen your company, define your values.