Define and Refine Your Core Values to Successfully Pivot
[lightbulb emoji]– to find out more here- Times Call for a Pivot, Is Your Business Ready?
[lightbulb emoji}]– to find out more here- The Power to Pivot Through Business Values
In a state of crisis your business must pivot and core values are your starting point.
As a small business, your core values are a reflection of your personal values. Defining what’s important to you, how you want to grow and manage your business will impact how you serve your community and run your business. Getting your core values right now as your business grows will help you in so many ways to ensure that you are hiring the right staff, partnering with the right people, and serving the right customers.
Last week’s #BizHackLive webinar “Wondering Where to Pivot? Start with Values“ With Jennifer Hudson, president of ThinkBeyond Public Relations, was amazingly interactive and a conversation that is crucial to small businesses when facing times of uncertainty and ever after. As a business you have to be able to define your core values and revisit them, most importantly under extreme times. You must be able to pivot your business while still staying true to your values, vision, and mission.
[thought this was good but not sure if we are still offering scholarships to put this as a call to action] – to find out more here
When the coronavirus hit, BizHack immediately began to offer this free webinar series. The reason why was simple, our mission, vision, and values were aligned with supporting and helping small businesses through this tough time of Covid-19. As it continued what we began to see was more black and brown people were dying and more black and brown businesses were dying as well. As a result, we realised looking back at our core values, we needed to do more to help businesses started by underrepresented minorities because those were the businesses being impacted the most. That’s what led us to launch a scholarship program for minorities, and women own businesses, as well as professionals of color. In order for us to fulfill our mission of serving small businesses we needed to do more for this population because they were getting impacted disproportionately by the economic circumstances of Covid-19.[Apply for Scholarship]– to find out more here
Recap of “Wondering Where to Pivot? Start With Values” with Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson is the president of ThinkBeyond Public Relations. She’s been working in the Communications and Marketing field for over 25 years. She works with NPOs and entrepreneurs to match their communication to their business objectives.
What are Core Values?
Core values are a reflection of your business, everything you are, and everything you do. They impact and determine the way you operate, partner, and hire.
- Soul of the machine – the essence of who you are as a business
- Define who you are but also who you are NOT which is just as important
- Communicate what you strive to be – indicate what you strive to be and communicate that
- Differentiate your brand – communicate what is UNIQUE about you as an organization
- Inform how you interact with stakeholders
- Authentic and believable – “Walk the talk”
- Yours alone
When working with a team it is important to go through the process of defining core values together to ensure you are aligned. If you’re not aligned internally as a team, it will always make its way externally.
Attaching Values to Behaviors
Describing the behaviors that you would want associated with each of your core values is very important. Set expectations for yourself and the people who work with you, for you, and those you interact and serve.
The behaviors that you attach to your core values are critical because as your business grows and you begin to partner with and hire people, you want to make sure that they are reflecting the values as you believe them to be. Someone else’s core value of honesty could be completely different to your core value of honesty.
Ex: If you’re a company and you have great customer service as a core value but you don’t invest in customer service training for your staff, then that value is not authentic and it will show up in how customers respond to you on social and in reviews.
You must be willing to attach systems, practices, policies, and budget to your core values.
Using Core Values to Pivot
Your core values as a business are your starting point when your business is in need of a pivot due to crisis (ex: natural disaster, business plateau, etc.). A business should take a broader look at their core values during a crisis or at least once a year and see if what they are doing is enough OR if times are calling for change- a pivot.
How are your core values showing up in your business from day to day?
See if there is an opportunity to focus your business more heavily on what is currently going on with Covid-19, the BLM movement, the LGTBQ+ legislation, etc. and pivot back to your core values and how to “Walk the talk” while staying true to your core values.
Ex: BizHack, looking back at our core values during the start of Covid-19, we realized we needed to do more to help businesses started by underrepresented minorities because those were the businesses being impacted the most. That’s what led us to launch a scholarship program for minorities, and women own businesses, as well as professionals of color. In order for us to fulfill our mission of serving small businesses we needed to do more for this population because they were getting impacted disproportionately by the economic circumstances of Covid-19.
Two Core Values Case Studies - One Good, One Bad
NIKE – Is living out their core values
Colin Kaepernick is an NFL star who took a knee during the national anthem. He was blackballed by all of the NFL teams and couldn’t get a job. During this time, Nike put out a really powerful social justice ad with Kaepernick that went viral. Nike received a lot of flack for it and a tremendous amount of support. This was a really risky move made by a brand that believes in living out their core values. Nike’s core values are performance, authenticity, innovation, and sustainability. This ad highlighted their authenticity and very savvy marketing that yielded results.
Crossfit – Violated its core values and is being punished for it
Following insensitive comments that indicated a complete lack of understanding of racial inequity and the BLM Movement by Crossfit’s founder and creator, 2000 licensees disassociated themselves from the Crossfit brand.
This is a clear example of where a violation of an unstated core value by the founder and CEO of the brand led to a revolt by his licensees. When core values are not defined, staff, partners, franchisees, students are left to fill in the blanks. In a moment of crisis you’re out of alignment and it is easy to find yourself in a similar situation.
Core Value Exercise – Professionals Chime In
It is important, at least once a year, to look at your current business environment through the lens of your core values and where you can get better at living them out and how you attach behaviors to them.
Core Value = Education
“As a CBD company, we need to spread knowledge especially when it comes to anxiety relief.” – Mayra Concepcion
Core Value = Positivism
“I am committed to writing and sharing positive messages and thoughts on Instagram.” – Milu Williams
Core Value = Balance
“I try to align myself with clients that value our services and see the results but at the same time understand that core value.” – Michelle Carol
How to Communicate Your Core Values
- Include them on your website
- Tell the story of your business through your core values
- Tell customer stories through your core values
- Communicate what you stand for through your social media channels
- Recognize when a staff member is living out a core value (Ex: with awards, through company communication)
- Gives voice to your unique view of the world
- “Pie in the Sky”
- Easily understood, captivating
- Believable and “ownable”
- Motivates, exudes, and inspires passion
- Speaks to the needs of customers, the community
[vision exercise slide] – to find out more here
- Stems from core values and vision
- Describes what you do, for whom, to what end
- Motivational and inspirational (especially for NPOs)
- Clear, concise
- Speak to how you will serve customers, partners, employees, community
[mission exercise slide] – to find out more here