Running an effective offsite – Part 3: Review the values

This is the 4th post in a series about running a company offsite. In my first post, I talked about why you might want to run an offsite. In the next post, I discussed setting the ground rules, while in the last post I talked about reviewing and testing the company Vision.

When trying to think about how you would achieve your company vision, especially when you talk about how your company will be different, the discussion around company values will come up.

Values are different from the vision, because they don’t talk about something you want to achieve; and they aren’t the same as the goals (which I discuss in a later post), because those talk about what things you’ll need to do to reach your vision. Values define how you will go about your business, and they have the power to inform every decision you make and the way in which you interact with customers, suppliers and staff.

Often, a company-wide (or at least, management-level-wide) session is needed to set values, even though they will necessarily be a function of the characteristics of the founder and C-level team. The session is as much an opportunity to thrash out the values as to have the founders impart them upon the other staff members. Knowing how a founder ticks is important to staff morale and fealty.

Nonetheless, the company values are worth reviewing as part of the off-site process. Once again, the trick is in articulating values to different audiences. The Company Values could be a list of 3 or 4 descriptive words that talk about how your company achieves its aims. In our case, we had 3 words, and a 4th term that we called “The Bulletproof Way.” And The Bulletproof Way lists a number of attributes that we all feel we have in common, that we should look for in future hires, and that result in the Company Values being what they are.

When you have your list of values, and optionally attributes that you look for, and are comfortable they can be articulated to staff, you’re ready for the Goal Setting phase – which I cover in the next post.

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