When Values Matter
Like many small businesses, we’ve been through the process of defining our Mission (to identify opportunity, share passion and achieve prosperity) and our Vision (how our mission and values come together to an end goal), before engaging our team to define Porters’ Values (Care, Integrity, Passion, Team, Enjoyment).
Our Values have some great thinking and team engagement behind them. As a business owner I use them to talk with staff about how and why we need to unite with the same values guiding us, in order to be successful.
But have we created something tangible or are we playing with intangible fluff and management mumbo jumbo? In recent weeks I have been convinced they really do matter, perhaps just in a different form.
How well did we own and live these Values as a team at first? Great in pockets, skepticism in others and as typical accountants, focused on numbers and results, a few requests to “please stop this New Age nonsense that is distracting me from ‘real’ work”.
So what has changed?
Trial by fire
I recently made an error in recruiting. CV was good. First and second interviews, good. Reference checks, good. Psychometric testing, OK.
How could we go wrong?
Well the values just didn’t fit and results and team cohesion suffered. Operating outside our team values weakened the bonds our team depends on.
A poor recruiting decision affects our clients, our team, our profit and I desperately wanted to fix it.
Like many a dedicated small business owner, deep contemplation happens in the dark of night when we’d rather be sleeping.
Can we fix this? Can we train the staff member in question? Maybe we can endure and apply a band-aid fix and avoid upheaval and disruption? How do I tell my clients that their recently allocated new accountant didn’t work out?
Decision by Values
My answer came back to our Values. I distilled our Vision, Mission and Values down to a single phrase. We give a shit. We give a shit about our clients, our work, our team, our community. We are at our best when we give a shit.
Two days later we parted company during a probation period. I truly hope this staff member finds a firm they align with.
So I spoke with our team. Described the what, the why, my sleepless nights, my regret, the need to give a shit, the extra workload they will need to cover. The relief of the staff was immediately apparent. Essentially all understood it wasn’t fair to our team, our clients, or even the staff member involved to take an easy line rather than the path that said we believe in our core values. There have been many examples over the years of where our team members have shown they embody our values, that they give a shit, so the message resonated.
Four hours later I was prepared and mentally ready to talk with staff about reallocating the work. They would need to work harder as a result of my poor recruiting judgement that prioritised skills and experience above cultural fit. Bless them – they had already come together as a team and worked out how to pick up the slack. I could have hugged them all! I still smile to think of it.
Why? Because they give a shit.
Our team productivity has been exceptional in the weeks since. I’ve had quiet staff members challenge my decisions for all the right reasons – just like I have asked them to. We’ve had more direct and open conversations. I have reviewed more letters to clients that have been drafted with insight and care into understanding and improving a client’s position.
I truly believe Values matter. For Porters CA, it took two years of talking and thinking to distill our way down to the simple idea that we give a shit. I’m not sure if “we give a shit” is a professional term suitable for our website and publication, but it encapsulates what we stand for and the results speak for themselves.
In essence, if we give a shit, we care about what we do and about the people around us. We act with integrity so we do what is right. We work as a team to share the load. We act with passion to maintain enthusiasm and we will enjoy what we do because we believe in it.
On the back of this, I decided that I also needed to give a shit in my personal life, so I signed up for a Ride to Conquer Cancer because it matters to me. (It is a great cause if you wish to donate. Ride to Conquer Cancer- donate here )
What matters to your business? How will you bring that to life?
WE ARE WHAT WE REPEATEDLY DO
To identify opportunity, share passion and achieve prosperity
Prosperity and success starts with asking what is possible.
As trusted advisors we identify opportunity, create strategy and work collaboratively towards success.
With shared responsibility, accountability and determination, together we walk a path of continuous improvement
We Care for our clients, colleagues and community by taking a genuine interest in who they are and doing our best for them.
Care is always worth the time and effort it involves and we’ll undertake the difficult conversations or actions that it requires.
We do what we say we’ll do. We do what trust, ethics and our conscience says we must do.
When we live our value of Integrity, our actions become so wonderfully predictable that people can rely on us completely.
Our passion is easy to see. We genuinely love doing what we do. It’s what keeps us energized, it keeps us motivated to keep learning, it enables us to go the extra mile.
Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.
Teamwork is about working together to achieve amazing things.
Enjoyment is a choice and a state of mind and a job is only a job when we view it as a job. In choosing enjoyment we create and share energy and prosperity.
We choose to embrace the joy of life which consists in the exercise of one’s energies, continual growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience.