It is important that a business clearly define its values and work with those who share those values. Unfortunately, many businesses still need to clearly define their core values so that there is no question where they stand. For that matter, how many businesses can say why they are in business or articulate their basic business foundation? You might be surprised at how few really can.
Any successful business needs to have vision—that is what the business will look like when it is successful. You must have a dream if you want to have a dream come true. Your core values are of greater importance than vision. These are your ideals you live by. These are your non-negotiables. If you know why you are in business, if you have a vision, and you have values you may then build your marketing plan and you will know how to make the right decisions. If your vision and values are clear to your staff, then then they too will make the right decisions.
A good leader leads by making the organization’s vision known to the entire team. But it is the leader’s commitment to values and living the values that makes the greatest impact.
Here is a true story about unclear values. The State Liquor Authority had targeted several restaurants in a restaurant chain for pouring house liquor into top brand bottles. An official from the restaurant company reacted with shock that this had happened in his company. He should not have been surprised. Profitability is important but not at the expense of ethics. If you do not make crystal clear your values and ethics to your team but only hold them accountable for profit results some may feel justified in taking short cuts. In my experience I have seen that a value of giving a great guest experience and putting the guest first will result in more happy guests and this leads to more profitability.
Your vision and especially your values should be out front and everywhere. For example, there is a bank that has a great reputation with the community and its customers. That is saying something considering what has happened in banking the last few years. I went into their offices and do you know what I saw? Everywhere I looked I saw their core beliefs in their documents, their posters and even engraved on the glass separating the offices. Although they are highly profitable is it also any surprise that they are held in high regard. Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s had core beliefs that could be recited by every executive down to every crew member in each restaurant. “Do the Right Thing” was just one of Dave’s sayings.
Here is where leadership comes in. A great leader shares the vision and the values and the goals and objectives. He holds the team accountable for results. But his team knows that in deciding on the right action they must always “Do the Right Thing.”
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