Finding Clarity in Business Values in 2015... or, you know, anytime.

Finding clarity in business values for 2015

January 12, 2015 - 10 minutes read

Over the holiday season, we were asked by our amazing leadership at Post+Beam to think about a few things to help clarify in our minds what the business’ values or goals for the year meant to each of us. In general the exercise was to help get us geared up for 2015, but also to gauge people’s temperature and find alignment within the organization. These were my responses. Warning: mild profanity.

What we were asked to think about

This was an easy exercise that you could easily replicate on your own or with your team.

  • Our thoughts in response to P+B’s values we’d like to focus on for 2015: Authentic, Interested, and “We Give a Shit” (You would, of course, ask people what they felt about your own goals or values)
  • Who we think our ideal client is
  • What our own passions are, and how those could bleed into our work as a group
  • What our own motivations now are (I framed this as “my own words/values/focuses for 2015”)
  • What follows is, with minimal editing, what I had to say about each of those things.

    Values

    1. Authentic

    Authenticity, to me, means keeping our heads on straight and remembering our values in times of great adversity or favour. Whether a client/friend/family member offers us a large amount of money or a large headache, we should always know where we stand and why. We shouldn’t feel like we need to feign interest, taking on clients that we are excited about already. Our clients should be able to trust us for honest feedback and guidance, just as we should be able to trust each other. We see this as a win/win relationship, knowing that if the client were to fail because we were selling them snake oil, then we too would fail. Likewise, if we did not coach and lead each other, then we should not be surprised if the company does not succeed.

    2. Interested

    When a great client shows faith in us, do we wait for them to initiate and give us what we need? Do we assume to know everything about what they do, or assume they know everything we do? No. We’re interested. Being interested means losing the assumptions. We understand that a client coming to us may know they have a problem, but they may not know what the right solution for that problem is. We live and breathe in a space of clients who do awesome things and whom we care about, so we naturally ask them the who, what, why, when and how of their business, and anything else that could help us serve them better. Doing so helps us build trust and transparency, not just for the benefit of the client, but for us as well. Heck, even if it’s not part of the project, if there’s something interesting we could chat about we do so, because…

    3. We Give a Shit (Care)

    We aren’t the first to shit, but we are the first to fuck. More directly, we aren’t the first to say shit on the job, but we are the first to give a fuck. We are considerate of our client’s feelings and values while still respecting our own and each other. We genuinely want to make an impact on people’s businesses and our space. Feeling this way and authentically representing it in our actions towards our clients builds better relationships. We are the anti-robot, the anti-cog, the torch-bringers, the guiding light for our clients. We do the right thing, even when no one is looking.

    We also give a shit about each other. We inspire a friendly, welcoming workplace where we can all be challenged and grow. We work to elevate each other, spotting each other’s gaps and supporting them. We see that anything we do starts with people, so we treat people right, starting with each other. Whether this means regular 1×1’s, 360 reviews, or just an open and honest atmosphere, we check in with each other and find out what issues there are and we all work to be better and better.

    Reader’s note:Sorry about the swearing. We aren’t really crass around here, the term/idea of “giving a sh*t” was born out of a recent team-building event we had where we all got honest and transparent. There may have been beer involved.

    Thoughts on the ideal client

    Our ideal client shares many similar values and passions as us, or work that exhibits and exudes those passions and values. Our clients should respect us as much as we respect them, are ideally fun to work with, are human, occasionally pay their bills in beer, and ultimately share our desire to build something amazing. The last thing our client should make us feel like we are doing is selling our souls. An ideal client would save your soul, providing you an outlet for your passion and/or business development.

    My current passions in a nutshell

    I love animals and the environment. I hate seeing needless suffering of innocent creatures, and would love to do anything that will help further animal rights, ethics and activism. I am eventually going to be offering things on my website and will be letting people know that a portion of all of my proceeds will be going to charitable causes that help animals and other things I believe in. Social change is also something I believe a great deal in: Gender equality, Race equality, LGBT rights, equal pay for equal work, mental health (would be nice to work with Canadian Mental Health on something) and more, are all things I care about. I want to know that what I am doing is making an impact in the world.

    I love being creative. I like to solve problems in ways that aren’t the usual template. I love to splatter ink and paint around and get messy, but I also love the retrospective involved in the clean-up afterwards. I also love my downtime, which the holiday season taught me I need to value a little higher. I love travelling and seeing new places and visiting other cultures (especially Japan).

    My own focus terms for 2015

    Confidence, Choices and Momentum.

    Choices (aka Freedom)

    ~ I want to take more time to myself to learn and to choose what’s right rather than taking things for face value or having someone else tell me what’s right.

    Confidence

    ~ When you spend so long having someone or something knock you down, you need to work to build yourself back up again.

    Momentum

    ~ I don’t want to “get the ball rolling.” It’s just rolling when it’s slowing down for a breather. The ball needs to be like the boulder at the beginning of Temple of Doom, only instead of stopping at the entrance to the cave it smashes right the hell through and rolls over Indie and his dinky little airplane! bwahahaha. I have a lot of things I want to make progress on this year.

    Thoughts?

    This was a good exercise for me, but I feel like I’ve had a lot of change over the last year and need to get my head on straight. That’s why I’ve also signed up for a Values-Based Business planning session with Lea Woodward, an awesome person (and wife to Jonathan, who recently did my long awaited draft on dribbble).

    What do you think? Do you or your organization do anything to ramp up a new year or tie the last one off? Believe in new years resolutions (I don’t see much success in that term, but I believe in creating new habits)? Is there anything you’re currently focused on or want to work on professionally/personally?

    Happy New Year from Post+Beam and myself!

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