I heard an interesting talk the other day by David Logan the co-author of Tribal Leadership. Unfortunately I can not share the talk I heard, but here he is on TED. The big takeaway I had was that the key to developing strong successful businesses was in uncovering shared values and using those values to guide decision making. Having shared common values unites a group around something bigger than themselves. These values can be something noble like giving to the poor or they may just be valuing fun and creativity. The value itself does not matter. The important point is that there is something larger than the self which is respected, rewarded, and followed by the group.
Personally I saw this in action the other day. I was asked to speak to a networking group. However before I gave my speech, the group discussed their desire to create a new name for their gathering. Instead of giving my talk, the attendees happily accepted my offer to facilitate them in this naming process. Instead of jumping into the creative process, first I helped them define a mission and vision for the group. It was incredible to see how the attendees began to align and synthesize as the values of the group came to the surface. Of course, growing one’s business was a core function of the group but what arose was that the group valued personal relationships. The desire to connect with other individuals on a personal intimate level was the foundation of this group. As this value rose to the surface, I could see the group coming together in a way they had not before.
In recent Find and Follow Your Bliss life purpose workshops and my upcoming book From Type A to Type Me, I teach that experiential values are the key to having purpose in one’s life. The same is true for your business. Yes, a business is in existence to serve a need and make money. That is a given. But what makes an amazing business is when there is an experiential value all of the co-workers share. The experiential value is true purpose of the business. It is why the employees get up in the morning and why they give that extra little bit every day. This value becomes a guiding light for the company’s goals, decision making, and employee and customer relations. It is the basis of the company’s brand personality. As businesses are able to center the company culture around an experiential value, they see moral improve and politics diminish. It is a wonderful productive state.
What are the common values of your business? What culture are you creating? How are you helping your employees gather around a singular value?