Our start-up Gravatate (the secret weapon for any business leader to get work done) is like many other start-ups: we are on the proverbial roller coaster. Some days we feel like we can take over the world, and other days the reality of the steep climb that lies ahead can be humbling. The many planning and strategy sessions and sales calls together with agile development meetings make for a sometimes chaotic week. Things are always changing.
However, I knew in my mind the type of company and the type of people we want to attract and incorporate into our mission. That has not changed a bit. Yet we have not found the time to nail this down in writing. As luck would have it, I joined the Entrepreneurs Organization Accelerator program which has four all-day learning days. The first learning day was about “people” and they touched on core values. I knew most of this from business school—I had it in my head all along, however I never stopped and made it a priority. Well on that day, our five core values were hatched and shaped later by our leadership team back at the office.
Doesn’t seem like much—but I can tell you it’s a serious game changer. Having our core values as a company in writing does three main things for us.
- It defines who we are as a company. As if that were not important enough!
- It becomes a human resource filter — if you can’t get behind the five core values – you either never get too close to working with us, or over time, it will help weed you out (the former has huge value), and
- It’s a non-emotional, easy-to-point-to arbiter of the truth
If you are leading a start-up, don’t let this get pushed back months and years as we did. If you have been in business for years it’s also not too late. There are people who can help you with this too if needed. We just needed a nudge, and quickly locked down our Core Values, as shown above. I am sure our company will evolve over time — however, our core values shouldn’t change much. If we are the kind of company you want to work with, or the kind of company whose product you would like to use — you’re welcome and encouraged to contact us firstname.lastname@example.org.