Can you run a business without values? Yes, perhaps, but for how long? Can you build a strong company with proud employees without values? The answer is a resounding no!
Values really are the building blocks, the foundation of every company. As a young company and start-up, Squadron has experienced how important it is to capture and name these. Doubts or can't make a certain decision? By going back to your values, you will certainly come to insights and find a fitting solution. Whether you work with salaried employees or independent experts, the basic principle remains the same. And whatever values you draw up internally for the employees, they are only powerful if they are perceived as equivalent by the external stakeholders (customers).
Seems simple, right? Pick 5 catchy values, plenty of inspiration on Google, add some marketing bling to it and these values become part of a nice branding. But that's not how it works, and thankfully so!
Determining the values is not an exact science. The answers can be easily found within the process of determining the values, after all we are working with people. 😉 This provides a breeding ground to sharpen engagement within the team. Values are always present, in every organisation from the very start. Effectively naming the values will only work if they have had time to mature.
Most members of Squadron have been here since the start and have therefore literally seen the company evolve. Evidently, at a certain time we have to take a step back and have a critical glanse at the company and ask ourselves some questions such as: are we still on course? Where are we headed? Do we need to adjust our course to realise our long term plans?
After this introspection you can conclude whether the company is on the right track or maybe you need to adjust course and refine the vision, (re)define the goals or adjust your values.
The advantage of a young company like Squadron is that we could go through this process with our members by means of an internal blue paper. We started by introducing our personal why to each other: why do we do what we do? This is inspired by Simon Sinek and his Golden Circle, in which the 'why' is always central to everything that companies do. From the personal why of the members, the values were determined in line with the why of Squadron "Making the Golden Age of Technology happen". This turned out to be an interesting exercise in which we took our time to talk to everyone and especially to listen to each other.
And it turned out that all members are on the same page and could agree on values that are simple yet sufficiently ambitious:
We have condensed these values into one paragraph:
They could be, but that is not what they set out to do. Good agreements make for good colleagues. It is an illusion to always be on the same wavelength, furthermore different perspectives can often make things more interesting.
If you have doubts or worries, the key is to talk to each other and to name them again! However, it is important to see a match between your personal values and the core values of the company. Knowing that you spend on average of 9,000 days of your life on your professional career, it is certainly important that your own values align with those of the company. It certainly pays to reflect on this regularly.
Naming and writing down the company's core values also helps strengthen the brand identity and projecting it out onto the job market. Using this tactic, you are much more likely to attract the right candidates. These values also form the basis in conversations between or members and with candidates. Besides expertise, we are especially curious and focused on the person behind the resume. A conversation is therefore rather an exchange of ideas, vision and personal motives. Based on
the conversation, we discover where we see a match and a win-win in the long for both parties. Always fascinating!
The importance of naming and writing down the company's core values therefore certainly has its purpose. It makes it easier to attract the right candidates, to get everyone on the same page internally and can even be used as a guide when faced with in difficult questions.