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Defining business values

Business values, much like personal values, influence behaviour and provide a set of rules or guidelines to follow. However, in a business context, values are often set and ignored.

To avoid this, business leaders need to create values that can lead to action and align with the business’ overall mission. Consider the following when defining your business’ values:

Assess business strengths
Look at the ways in which your business thrives – do you have ambitious staff or loyal customers that drive your success? Understanding your business’ strengths allows you to identify the underlying values which drive current behaviour and action. Once you have a better understanding, you will be able to identify key values that your employees, customers, suppliers and community encompass and use these values as a basis for your business.

Formulate rules based on values
Once you have identified your key values, you can create rules based on these values so staff and the public know what to expect of your business. For example, your rule might be to “continually search for answers.” This would align with a value of innovation, placing a great emphasis on building on new ideas and solutions. Rules also help to foster the right culture in your workplace, making it more enjoyable for staff and management alike.

Tie values to your overall purpose
Values should be used to complement your business’ overall mission or purpose. For example, if your mission is to provide education to rural teenagers in disadvantaged areas, adopting a rule such as “continually search for answers” would be appropriate as it encourages everyone involved in the business to look for new ways to meet challenging demands and so on. Therefore, identifying values helps to align strategies, plan and create goals that serve your business’ overall purpose.


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