10 Core Business Values That Really Matter and Why
1. Client Stewardship – Treating others the way you want to be treated
I’m a big believer in the golden rule. It is the dominating value in my personal and business relationships. If you treat people well, they will treat you well. That principle lets you sleep well at night and earns you tremendous respect. Occasionally, someone will take advantage of you, but you just choose not to work with them any longer.
It means relating to people in a way that is authentic and true. It also means how you treat others – even when no one is watching. It spans the gamut from not ripping people off to not putting up a false front. At APM, I follow through on my promises to customers and partners, and I do my best to be transparent in the way I do business.
With me, what you see is what you get. As an entrepreneur, I like that I can choose my own clients. I choose to work with people who are straightforward and appreciate my directness.
Another of my core values that I’ve always tried to exhibit in all my working relationships is to treat each other like family. When I prospect for new clients, I look for people who value meaningful relationships. My support work is all about creating better connections. The work environment here is very familial. Of course, every family is dysfunctional to some degree, but I try to engender trust so people can be open and provide feedback that might be hard. When there is trust, you know it comes from a good place.
5. Open and honest communication
Problems fester when teams are not open and honest, especially with diverse teams where there are a lot of differences of opinion. In my work, I try to create a culture that rewards and promotes honesty for both parties. It is also important to be bold — especially if you are an entrepreneur and you want to build your business and its relationships. That takes guts and courage.
I feel grateful for the business and work I get to do, and the opportunities that come from that, and I work hard to communicate that to my clients, their staffs, and my other business partners.
7. Honesty, simplicity, and doing something you believe has real value
Many companies do market research to try and anticipate the needs of the customer. I say just develop great products and tell an honest story about them. All the excess marketing spin in the commercial world has created a desire for authentic goods. I try to be as authentic as I can.
I only want to do work that I enjoy and feel that I’m excited about. Life is way too short not to love what you do, why you do it, and who you do it with. You can’t wait for some event to be your payoff. When you wake up each day, you need to ask yourself: Is this my best purpose? Do I love where I live, who I know, what I do?
I have a responsibility to my wife and family to have our needs met, but I strive to stay on the quest to do that while doing something I love, too. In association work, I am doing what I truly want to do. When I started working as an independent contract worker, I had fears and reservations. But, I’ve been encouraged by family, mentors I trust, and I’m on my path to happiness. I believe in what I’m doing to accomplish my goals.
9. Transparency and an open culture of growing to change and thrive
I believe it is important to support experimentation. Everyone should be encouraged to do fast experiments that fail or succeed quickly; to try new methods of accomplishing what you want for your organization. That’s how we grow. Based on those tests the best ideas should win. Also, your values as a company must be rooted in living a purposeful life.
10. Working to make a difference in the world
You can see who’s most powerful in a society based on who has the tallest buildings. Two hundred years ago, it was cathedrals. Fifty years ago, it was a government building. Today, in most urban areas, the power rests with business large and small. Business is the most powerful influence in the world today. Fifty-four of the 100 most powerful entities in the world today are companies, not countries. That means it is that much more important that businesses take a conscious capitalist perspective to make a difference in the world. I’m a big believer in that on a global level. Businesses are finally asking, what is our ecological footprint? I believe businesses need to work independently and together to build a better tomorrow for everyone involved.