When you walk into a high-performance organization, you can feel the difference. It's buzzing. People are energized. They have purpose and they are working together to get things done. But how do organizations become high-performance organizations?
Values should be at the core of every organization. Why? Because values-driven companies are the most successful. Values have a huge influence on a person's behavior and attitude, it's at the very core of all human decision-making. When we work in a culture that aligns with our personal values, we feel energized. We are motivated and committed to the welfare of our colleagues and the success of the company. Releasing this energy is critical to building a high-performance culture and successful business.
The reasons are simple:
- Values drive culture
- Culture drives employee fulfillment
- Employee fulfillment drives customer satisfaction
- Customer satisfaction drives revenue
Research shows that there is a strong link between financial performance and the alignment of company values with employees' personal values.
Make your values mean something
We have recently gone through the process of creating our own values at Timelio. I absolutely believe that that culture of our business is the paramount source of competitive advantage and brand differentiation.
The key reasons we went through this process is, firstly, because when values are aligned, our culture enables us to attract and retain the best people. This is a significant commercial advantage, especially when talent is in short supply. Secondly, values enable us to build a strong brand. The strongest brands are always those with the strongest internal cultures. Finally, we have some pretty aggressive growth plans for the business. We're going to be growing extensively over the next 12-24 months and these values will help us scale. As we grow the team, they're our foundation.
Here's the 3 steps we took to develop our company values:
1. Identify your personal principles, beliefs and values
It's surprisingly harder than you think! Try using the "Mountains and Valleys" Core Values exercise to help discover your core values. Your values are the things that you believe are important in how you live and work. A good way of starting to do this is to look back on your experiences and identify when you felt really good, really confident and that you were making good decisions.
2. Combine people's values
Involving everyone in the creation of the values is really important. A good way to encourage ownership of the values is to ask everyone to contribute ideas, including what the values mean in their environment and how they can put them into practice.
3. Integrate core values into everything you do
Make your values a part of everything your organization does. Especially hiring, firing and performance reviews. Select and reward people based on their values, their behavior, not just their ability to do the job. The story of how Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, used core values to scale the business rapidly to more than $1 billion in sales and become a world class company is fascinating. What I admire most about the Zappos philosophy is that they're willing to make short-term sacrifices (including lost revenue or profits) to protect the company culture in the long-term.
Companies whose purpose is to deliver value to customers, employees and community are proven to be the highest performing over time. Whether that's high performance in terms of brand differentiation, retaining talented individuals, or profitability, the success of an organization is directly related to the degree of alignment between the underlying values of the company and the aspirational values of employees.
The next time you walk into that buzzing and energized environment you will see how creating aligned values can transform organization performance... and unleash breakthrough innovation and growth!
Charlotte Petris is the Founder and CEO of Timelio, a peer-to-peer marketplace for invoice finance. Timelio connects growing businesses directly with investors, enabling quick access to cash locked up in invoices.
Charlotte is actively involved in shaping Australia's FinTech industry. She is Vice President of FinTech Australia and a member of the Australian Federal Government's FinTech Advisory Group. As a Chartered Accountant with 20 years of experience advising and helping businesses access capital, Charlotte understands the constraints many SMEs face without adequate cash flow. Using innovative technology, her aspiration is to make it easy for businesses to access capital to help them grow and sees Timelio as an opportunity to "do it different" in the world of finance.