Do you know what your company stands for?
When I started Pro Food Systems in 1998, I had a vision of the company I wanted to build. However, in 1998 I really didn’t know what I didn’t know.
In 2011, after nearly 12 years in business, Mark Gandy (now a great friend, mentor, and advisor) with G3CFO recommended a book to me. The book was written by Jack Stack and is titled The Great Game of Business. At the age of 40, I had never really been one to read books, actually I had only read two books cover to cover in my life. Luckily for me, I took Mark’s advice and read the book. In fact, I read this book in one weekend and have since became an avid reader. This book, along with several other business books I read, helped me to formulate a better vision that I could put on paper. As our company was going through massive growth in 2011, I sat down and wrote our Mission, Vision, 5 Guiding Principles, and Core Values. While this was time consuming, I truly believe taking the time to contemplate, formulate and communicate these things are critical to scaling a company.
Why Core Values Matter
The Core Values of an organization form the foundation on which we work and conduct ourselves. We have an entire universe of values, but some of them are so primary, so important to us that throughout the changes in society, government, politics, and technology they are STILL the Core Values we will abide by. In an ever-changing world, Core Values are constant.
Core Values are not descriptions of the work we do or the strategies we employ to accomplish our mission. The values underlie our work, how we interact with each other, and which strategies we employ to fulfill our mission and core purpose. The Core Values are the basic elements of how we go about our work. They are the practices we use every day in everything we do.
Core Values Tie the Company Together
The lack of Core Values is generally a big reason few companies are successful in navigating through the challenges of rapid growth. Early in a company’s life cycle, the owner is able to make frequent and personal contact with virtually everyone working inside the company. As the company reaches a certain point in the growth cycle this personal touch becomes less frequent simply due to the workload and other challenges that arise when rapid growth occurs. When a human resources department and mid-level managers are added to handle hiring decisions, the owner is further removed from the personnel decision making process.
In order to ensure the company continues on a path consistent with the owner’s beliefs, it is important to have a set of ethical guidelines. These ethical guidelines tie in with the Core Values of the organization and are vitally important to the long-term success of the organization. Organizations are successful because of people who share a common mission, a common vision, and Core Values. Over 6 years ago I sat down, along with a lot of input from my team, and wrote the Core Values of PFSbrands:
- Have fun
- Always treat others as you want to be treated
- Practice ‘ownership thinking’
- Positive ATTITUDE always
- I – There’s no I in TEAM
- No complaining
- Entitlements do not exist
- Structure & balance – God, family, work, and everything else
- Straight talk and Simple is better
- Remember that the customer is why we are here
- U never get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression
- Learn to communicate openly through all channels
- Everyone has the opportunity to excel
If you follow the first letters down, you will notice that our Core Values spell out HAPPINESS RULE. As we all live and work by these Core Values our work becomes more fun and rewarding. Actually, these values have helped many to improve their personal lives
Over the next several weeks, I will cover each of these Core Values in more detail and explain why they are important to me and how they can help you in your personal and professional life. Today let’s cover the Core Value everyone is looking for in a job, a place where they can “Have Fun.”
1. Have Fun
Our first Core Value is fairly simple… Have fun! Whoever said work wasn’t supposed to be fun? You spend more hours working than doing anything else. More time than with your family, hanging out with friends, even sleeping (for most of you), so why not find something that you truly enjoy doing and make it a priority to ensure you have fun and those that work around you have fun. For me the best sign of this is seeing people laughing, joking around, and developing true friendships with people they work with.
As a Founder & CEO, I feel it is my duty to provide an environment that allows employee owners to have fun. Having fun means different things to different people. Like many entrepreneurs, I am probably a little warped. I truly enjoy working and I love the constant challenges that running a business presents. As a leader, it is up to you to provide the atmosphere and then it’s up to your employees to make having fun a reality within their departments. With this at the top of our Core Values, we ask our employee owners to make it their mission to spread happiness to fellow employees, customers, and vendors.
When your employees are having fun and effectively doing their job, they will be more efficient and productive.
Taking the time to write out your company’s Core Values and strategy is a great way to set your course for the future. When done correctly, your strategy and Core Values will steer your major decisions.
Come back next time as we break down a few more of our Core Values including the Golden Rule: Always treat others as you want to be treated.