Those who know me or who have heard me speak will know that I go on about the ‘heart and soul’ of a business, of a leader, and of a team. For me, before any of these three can progress to any sustained level of success and profit, they need to be clear about what they stand for, and what is important to them. Later articles will talk about critical concepts such as vision and mission, but for today I want to focus on VALUES.
Values and beliefs are the cornerstone of who we are, and by extension, what our business is. We can see our values through the choices we make as well as the choices we don’t make; the people we choose to spend our time with, and the ones we don’t; the activities we do in our spare time, and the ones that we cannot motivate ourselves to do.
For any leader or entrepreneur, having a deep understanding of who we are is essential to any personal or business planning process. Our work is an extension of who we are – if we don’t lead or run a business in alignment with our values, we will become detached and disappointed quickly.
I have often been asked to state my values, and when setting up my own business, I was clear that I didn’t simply want a list of words to try and capture what I believe to be true. As a consequence my business has a ‘Statement of Beliefs’ or ‘Creed’ which was formed even before I tackled such topics as vision, mission, strategy, or tactics.
‘We believe in the potential of the millennial generation to bring about radical transformation within themselves, their businesses, and the wider communities in which they live and work.
We are the champions of a new way of leading and believe that all millennials have the capacity and desire to make profound, long-lasting change from which all profit.
We believe that by harnessing the talent of the millennial generation, the world will become one that is dominated by positivity, gratitude, and creative action.
We believe challenge, accountability, and encouragement will create a generation of leaders and entrepreneurs who can navigate unchartered waters with passion and focus, and make a future that is better and more fulfilling for humanity than anything that has come before.’
The way I crafted this statement is as follows, and I share the system with you to use as a gift:
1) Go out for a long walk somewhere that gives you peace and tranquility. Remove yourself from social media or ‘contactability’. Experience the world around you: hear the sounds, smell the air, appreciate the colour around you.
2) Whilst out, consider what really gets you positively passionate, and jot it down (I use positive passion rather than negative as a Statement of Beliefs should be about potential, capacity and everything that is good and positive in life).
3) Consider why you feel that this is your mission – what is it about these beliefs that make you get up every morning and choose to live how you do? What is it about them that keeps you driven and motivated, in spite of the challenges and obstacles of everyday life?
4) Write three or four sentences that clearly describe what you believe – use ‘We believe’ or something similar for each.
5) DON’T PLAY SMALL. As it was once famously observed, your playing small in the world benefits no-one. Use big language, be bold, be ambitious – this is the centre of who you are and what you want to do.
6) Get it down on paper and share it. Tell others about it, write about it (I’d love to see your drafts in the comments box). How does it feel when you share and talk about it? If you get that warming, positive sensation that spreads to a smile on your face you are close to hitting on the essence of who you are. If it doesn’t…DON’T PANIC! Revisit it and pick through each word: are there words that don’t quite fit? If so, replace them!
7) Keep re-iterating your statement until you feel complete and excited.
8) Begin to use it as your compass for life and business: make choices based on it, enter in to collaborative relationships that align with it, allow it to become a clear part of who you are, a way of describing you to the world.
I’d love to hear your views – do you use a Statement of Beliefs? If so, how does it guide what you do? If you don’t, give it a try and use the comments on here to post your draft out to the world!
I’m really excited to hear from you on a topic that is so close to my heart.