Scaling, or growing rapidly, is a high priority for many startups and established companies. Every element of scale can be tricky, but today we're going to focus on the human element of scale.
Humans can be pesky, inconsistent, confusing, and often baffling creatures. As entrepreneurs, we at times love them, fear them, and occasionally wish we could ignore them. But no company can exist without them (sorry, robot armies) and no company can scale without focusing on them.
So what are the human factors that drive scale in your company?
- Great decisions, made quickly
- A strongly aligned team
- Team members who love working there
Enter values. (You knew this was coming from the title.) How do your values help you scale? To put it simply, values help all things human go smoothly. And we already established that your business is likely filled with humans. Let’s break it down.
- Great decisions, made quickly, drive a company forward faster than most anything else. Values guide decision making, establishing a clear structure for anyone in the company to make solid decisions, as I covered in a recent post
This also removes bottlenecks by reducing the number of times everyone needs to ask you, or someone else, what to do. With values as their guide, your team will know what to do, without asking or needing another layer of management.
- When your team is not aligned, it feels to everyone like swimming against a very strong current. When you share, spread, and reinforce values, you are suddenly all cruising downstream, faster and faster. Using values in hiring, firing, performance reviews, and in every type of team interaction will supercharge your companies growth.
This shouldn’t be confused with lack of diversity. It is important that every team have members with diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and contributions. But sharing the same values is not where you want diversity. For example, one of our Awesome values is Communicate Courageously. I don’t begrudge someone who doesn’t share that value, but that doesn’t mean I want them on my team either. I want a team where we have all agreed to pursue courageous communication, tackling tough topics open and honestly, with each other, our clients, and our partners.
- Values help your team love working for you, love who they work with, and feel like they are a part of something bigger. Think about other groups you are affiliated with that share your values - clubs, religious groups, sports teams, and schools. Being with others who value the same things is a meaningful part of life, and besides that, it’s FUN.
Most employees want to spend their long workdays with people they care about, enjoy being with, and who live their values. Values are a clear agreement of how everyone will behave. When everyone is in agreement, people have more fun, and find more meaning in their day-to-day work. This leads to lower turnover, more efficient recruiting, and a strong company culture. And did I mention fun??
Values are a powerful way to drive and sustain growth, while enjoying your company more than ever before.
How have values helped you scale? Please share a story or ask a question in the comments. If you need a hand identifying your company values, we are here to help.
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