Creating our own valuesInsights

Creating our own values

6 min read, by Steve Cater

Steve from Marketing here. Thanks for swinging by!

Transitioning from ThanksBox to Mo was a big piece of work. With an outcome that I am personally really proud of. We look good right? On that journey there were a few headline moments that were key in shaping our new brand strategy and the direction we've taken. The moment I want to share with you here, was the moment that we defined our own values (how we got there and why). 

Hopefully, this provides some insight for small, medium and large businesses looking to go through a similar process. And some learnings that you can take away from our approach.

Little caveat before I do: I come to "company values" with an air of caution. Defining company and brand values is straight up hard. Having any control of culture is just as challenging. But I will say this... everywhere I've worked has had a culture. A way things are done. A set of (normally) unwritten ways of behaving. So understanding what those are, and understanding the values we aspire to hold dear is really important.

Coming together around a set of values at our size and stage, ahead of a huge period of growth and together with a rebrand was an opportunity we needed to grab with both hands. 

So we started the process.

Importantly, we knew that our values needed to be defined by everyone in our business. Now this is relatively easy to manage for us as we are about 20 people. For larger businesses it could be that the same process take place through technology / surveys / workshops.

Ahead of the session, everyone was given a mini brief: to think about the behaviours and values that they find important, the type of place they want Mo to be (now and in the future), and to come armed with a handful of examples that they'd be happy to share with the wider team. A few libations, lots of sugar and three hours later, we had heard from everyone.

It was a lot to take in. We had nearly 40 individual contributions. It was extremely valuable to hear directly from everyone passionate enough about them to stand up and share them. We heard what it meant to them and why. And we got to discuss them, challenge them on occasion, and really wrestle with how we might apply those values.

After the session, we had time to reflect. To think about how we might put some structure around such a wealth of contribution. We started joining the dots and understanding the real meaning and motivation behind each thing that had been shared and this enabled us to see that there was deeper meaning that joined up, what can best be described as, the "behaviours".

A behaviour is how a value manifests itself. I value fairness, so if I see something unfair my behaviour demonstrates this, I try to stop it.

When we grouped together the behaviours that had been shared by the team aligned to four values. This was a challenging, but extremely important part of the process as it meant that we could have: 

1. Simplicity: it’s important that our values are easy for everyone to understand yet beneath the simplicity there is real depth. Having more than ten values is no good to anyone. They lose meaning, become hard to understand, and they’re hard to uphold,

2. Inclusivity: With just four overarching values, we have been able to include everyones input. Understanding the real sentiment and meaning of our contributions has meant we can have simplicity, while including everyone,

3. Usability: If we can’t easily apply our values to what we do, they become unusable. In getting to clear values that are simple and inclusive we are better positioned to be able to use them in everything we do, from hiring to ways of working.

Our Values

1 - Togetherness

Above all we value unity. Working together we can achieve amazing things (also aligned to what we give our clients). We care about genuine compassion, honesty and respect. Together is the foundation upon which we will create meaning in everything we do. 

Some of the behaviours that demonstrated this: Solidarity and support, achieving together and willingness to sacrifice. 

2 - Belief

To achieve our vision we must have self belief. We've got this! We know, because we are relentlessly committed. Our passion, strategy and unwavering optimism will see us succeed.

Some of the behaviours that demonstrated this: Graft and commitment, ownership and optimism.

3 - Progress

We've got a big road ahead but together we can change the world of work. To get there we’ll take every small step that’s needed. We will inspire those around us, open minds and be practical about getting to the next leg of our journey.

Some of the behaviours that demonstrated this: Dreaming big, keeping things simple, being practical and making a difference.

4 - Fun along the way

It was clear from hearing what our team had to say, that we value the fun times. Granted, there is a lot to do, so it’s important that when we can we do fun things, we come together to enjoy one another’s company.

From these four values we created a values statement that united our behaviours and values - in a way that we could all clearly understand them, communicate them and come back to them when the occasion arises - because we believe that we should all be accountable to these values:

Together, we can make work better

(and have fun along the way)

We’re now continuing to apply these values to everything that we do. 

Because we’re busy building a product that creates moments to bring people together at work, and as part of that solution we enable businesses to better understand just how their people are living those behaviours and values through our insights - we can use our own tools to understand what this means for our own values here at Mo.  

It’s called Dogfooding. And it’s a useful part in our product development. Here’s a snapshot of how our new values are being demonstrated by our people:

I’m able to see that we’re demonstrating our togetherness, belief and progress values well and consistently. But, we’re not delivering on our “having a laugh” value as often. 

I hope you found it interesting learning about the process that we went through in defining our own values, why they’re important to us and how we’ll be keeping a close eye on them. I’m off to ask for some budget to get a few socials in the diary ;)

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If you’d like to know more about our People Insights, and how we are able to help you understand the behaviours and values that your people are recognising every day, get in touch