Rules can only go so far, and there might be a human tendency to resist “rules” because they seem like limitations more than helpful guidance. Instead of writing voluminous rule books (like lawyers and legislatures do), I found that consistently communicating our Core Values is most effective in empowering employees. We list these values and share them throughout the hiring process, but we also define them, as we relate to them in our work:
We look first at our contributions to situations and change our actions before blaming others or expecting someone else to shift our circumstances.
We seek to leave each matter, person, and place better than we found them.
We err on the side of inclusion, inviting affected parties to participate in creating win-win solutions.
We are committed to continuous improvement, personal growth, and professional development so that everyone can live his or her best life.
We are mindful and respectful of others’ different beliefs, needs, and wants, even if we disagree with them.
We set aside our assumptions and base our decisions on tangible proof, such as sworn documents, photographs, testimony under oath, and video.
We do what we say we will do, correct our errors, do things as they are supposed to be done, and deliver complete work at every level on every project.
We are aware that others observe our behavior when choosing their own, and we are careful what we lead them to imitate.
We are not in anything solely for our own benefit, and we consistently seek win-win solutions.
We choose peace whenever possible, yet we speak up against injustice, unfairness, racism, sexism, and discrimination based on a person’s physical individuality (e.g., age, disability, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual preference).
Our values aren’t just buzzwords left to interpretation, and in our Operations Manual, each chapter begins with an adaptation of the Core Values to the specific topic, such as Client Relations, Human Resources, Finance, and Marketing. This reinforces the values and gives employees clear examples of how they might apply.
Do you have similar practices or tips for other business owners? Please share them in the Comments below. Thanks!