Values are easy to talk about, especially when they matter to you. But even if they do really matter they’re hard to do. Values are like ideas: ideas don’t mean much unless they’re put into action. Likewise, values don’t mean much unless they’re actually lived out.

Earlier this year, after much thought and reflection, we determined we needed to rebrand. It was essential to us that the foundation of our brand was built off our values. The things we believe that, if we get right, will help us thrive for years to come. To kick off our rebrand, we spent a lot of time clearly defining and determining how to communicate our values. We even called in the talented Joel Klettke to work with us on our messaging and web copy.

I’m going to share why it was so important for us to define our values and why it’s so important to continually communicate our values. I’ll also share a few methods that have helped us turn our values into action, and not just fill space on empty office walls.

Why do clearly defined values matter to us?

Our values guide our decisions.
Having a clear set of guides that are applicable to every scenario has made a huge impact on our decision making. We’re able to more confidently say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to decisions that either align or do not align with our values. From company wide operations to those high pressure decisions when the stakes are high, we can ask ourselves, “is this the right way to do it?” If we don’t have a means to guide our direction, we’ll end up in the wrong place.

In 2017, we more than doubled in size and took on challenges that tested us in many new ways. During a fast-paced year of significant growth, we needed to rely on our core values in every scenario, more than ever. Having practical and actionable values helps us stay in sync and authentic as we grow and take on more big challenges.

Our values help us provide a consistent experience.
We spoke with our clients and our team to help us better understand what values make the biggest impact on our relationships. We believe that when we successfully live out our values, the experience for our clients and our team is consistent and positive. The people we work with can depend on us and have their expectations met time after time. While we’re not perfect, we strive every day to get it right.

How we’re putting our values into action.

We defined and branded our values.
It’s been said that if you don’t have a process written down, you don’t have a process. A clear process removes uncertainty and helps a team stay unified as they work toward a goal. The same can be said about values. We knew that if our team couldn’t easily remember and understand how to practically apply our values, they wouldn’t be put into action. We made sure our values were stated in clear, memorable terms. We didn’t need to be clever or unique. We needed to be clear.

We updated our process and tools.
We have spent many hours evaluating our process and the tools we use to deliver work. It is critical to us that the ways in which we operate equips our team to successfully live out our values. When our team is living our values, it will show in the quality of our work and the experience of our clients. While we always evaluate how we do things, we also dedicated the time to align our process with our values.

We teach our values again and again.
We didn’t want to spend loads of time carefully crafting ways to state our values only for them to collect dust in a sea of documents. We have weekly team lessons fuelled by our values. We talk about them a lot. We ensure our team understands and knows how to apply them. We will continue to teach our values on an ongoing basis. They won’t mean anything if we aren’t putting them into practice and we won’t put them into practice if we don’t know them.

We acknowledge when they’re being lived out.
We find ways to recognize and celebrate when our team puts our values into action. We have found that the things we celebrate happen more frequently. We are fulfilled when we’re acknowledged and when we can clearly identify the positive impact we make.

Our six core values.

Below you can see our six core values. Don’t be surprised if you’ve seen these before. We made no attempts to try and revolutionize how to describe what matters to us, but we did choose our words very carefully. These six values represent our many principles and have been put into simple concise terms. These words were crafted from the blood and sweat (okay, mostly sweat…and coffee) of many lessons learned in our 10 year journey and what will guide us in the years ahead.

Grit

See the job through no matter what surprises or challenges emerge.
To us, grit is recognizing that achieving big goals requires more than just talent. It requires perseverance and an intrinsic motivation to get the job done.

Relationships

Put people first in practical and unexpected ways.
We believe in deep, meaningful relationships. We are not just coming together to complete a series of tasks in the same environment. We believe that, to truly make the biggest impact, the people on our team, the people we partner with, and the people we serve need to be valued and cared for.

Leadership

Take ownership and accountability, even when it’s hard.
We believe that everyone on our team is a leader in some way; that, by taking ownership of our responsibilities, we can all lead in many different ways.

Quality

Care enough to do it right, even when nobody’s looking.
The reality is, there are constraints, limitations, and obstacles in every project and every relationship. For us, quality is about finding the best solution for any given situation.

Creativity

Take risks, break convention, and find new ways to make things better.
We see creativity as pushing boundaries, adapting to changes, and innovating in order to overcome complex challenges and continually improve.

Collaborate

Plan, work, and succeed as a team.
As a team, we share ideas, experiences, and resources in an effort to find the right solutions. We partner with our clients and leverage the experience of all involved to make the biggest impact.

Conclusion

When determining if we’re a good fit for the people and companies we partner with, it’s essential to us that our values line up. Of course, they don’t have to be the same. But they do need to work well together, like any great relationship.

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