Strengthening your team and business starts with your values.
Years ago, I worked with a national firm whose values didn’t exactly align with mine. I had to realize why things felt off, accept it, and move on.
Working with parties who aren’t aligned with you is almost never worth it because it holds you back. This is especially true when the misalignment occurs with talent you hire at your company.
Now, aiming for value alignment isn’t a new concept. But in my experience as an advisor, I don’t see nearly enough new founders take the time to get clarity on these things.
Establishing your company values is one thing, but it’s the act of preserving them that’ll help you reach success.
Here are three actionable ways to get started.
1. Get clarity on your company values
This journey starts with you.
If you haven’t already sat down and determined your company’s mission and the values that accompany it, I encourage you to get clarity on that. If you already have a team, get them involved. If not, sit down with yourself and determine what you want your company to stand for.
Avoid having a dozen core values. It’s okay for a dozen things to be important to your company, but you’ll want to narrow things down to a shortlist of absolute non-negotiables that are especially unique to your company. While creating your list, think about what will resonate with the people you’re trying to attract — whether it’s to work at your company or to patronize it.
2. Find, attract, & retain your people
You’ve probably heard the old adage, “a team is only as strong as its weakest link.” That sentiment has rang true in my entrepreneurial experience.
Having the wrong team members can hold your company back, while the right team can propel you forward at record speed.
You may have either started building your team or plan to do so soon. Either way, your early team plays an especially pivotal role in your business’s success.
Years ago, I heard a founder describe startup hiring as looking for grade A talent in the early stages, then, once you start having to scale more quickly, realistically needing to expand your search to B and C+ talent too. You don’t need to entirely agree with this strategy, but the sentiment that you must hire especially stellar talent in the early days rings true.
So, what separates good talent from bad talent?
Starting with the latter, folks who don’t fully subscribe to your mission and values won’t have the motivation to take your company to the next level.
Traits of candidates who are a mismatch:
- Misaligned values
- Underperformance and weak work ethic
- Insufficient experience (not always unfavorable)
On the other hand, traits of candidates who are a match include:
- Aligned values
- High performance and strong work ethic
- Domain expertise
As you can see, these lists are simply the inverse of each other.
Now that you know what to look for when hiring, how can you start attracting the right talent?
And once you hire the right talent, how can you retain them and set them (and yourself) up for success?
Once you assemble the right team, you must get comfortable trusting others to own their responsibilities and do great work without excessive oversight. Giving teammates autonomy helps them fully take on your company values and look to them as their north star.
As a leader, you should also foster an environment where all teammates have a voice and feel comfortable speaking up. If you deem talent worthy of joining your team, trust them to bring valuable perspectives and domain expertise that make you stronger.
I’m constantly thinking about not only building a team but fostering a community of voices that lead to a coherent sense of “we,” including with my clients.
3. Lead authentically
Now that you’ve done the hard work of establishing your values, it’s time to be confident and assured in the foundation you made and in the team you’ve assembled.
As a female founder or leader of a firm, it’s essential that you walk the talk of your company values.
Consistently living by the firm’s values every day is a must if you ever want to achieve your mission.
Be authentic, be true to yourself, and try not to over control. I’ve personally had to loosen up on the reins many times before realizing what a difference it made.
It’s uncomfortable — I know! But you need to trust the process.
Your energy rubs off on your team, so the more authentic and confident you are, the more effective your leadership.
Time to get started
Now that you understand how to establish and live your company values to achieve long-term success, I hope you start working toward it.
As a female founder, the success of your business and team are critical. I encourage you to book a call today and talk to our financial experts about how you can achieve success in your journey.