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Building Teams, Grow Your Business, Mindset

Imagine setting out on a cross-country road trip with a destination in mind but no map or GPS to guide you. You’d find yourself lost, unsure of which turns to take or how to reach your goal. In the same way, a business without clear Mission, Vision, and Core Values is like a journey without a guiding system. These values are your GPS, providing the direction needed to navigate every decision and action. Without them, you risk losing your way, making misguided choices, and failing to stay true to your mission. How can you reach your destination if you don’t have a system to guide you?

As your business grows, you’re going to need that GPS more and more. I’ve said this before: you’re not always going to “feel like it.” Making decisions, staying disciplined, and moving closer to your vision isn’t always pleasant or easy. Success requires you to have something outside of yourself to keep you on track. That is why Core Values are essential to your business’s success – and it is a big part of why I wrote Start the Work.

Take, for example, some of the big brands of the early 2000s. In addition to creating killer products and services, they brought the idea of Mission, Vision, and Core Values—and “company ethos”—into the mainstream. When Apple was revolutionizing technology with the launch of the iPod, their motto, “Think Different,” wasn’t just a catchy phrase; it was a Core Value that guided every decision and innovation. This principle was essential to Apple’s culture, driving them to create products that changed the world. Your Core Values should similarly be integral to your business decisions and ensure everyone on your team is aligned.

Shiny Objects Syndrome

In the journey of growth, staying true to your values is pivotal, especially when confronted with new opportunities. I see this time and time again: business owners often face Shiny Objects Syndrome, where the idea of new and exciting prospects can steer them away from their core beliefs.

For example, a dental practice known for its commitment to patient care and high ethical standards may be presented with an offer to partner with a dental equipment supplier known for questionable practices. In this kind of scenario, it’s essential to pause and reflect. Before making a decision, ask: does this partnership align with our dedication to quality and ethics? If not, it’s wise to delay until the timing aligns with your values, perhaps when a more compatible partnership arises or during a strategic growth phase.

Scaling With Integrity

Leading by example is one of the most effective ways to ensure buy-in from your team – and definitely, the opposite is true. If you, as the owner, are not all-in, what can you realistically expect from those who work for you?

For instance, if you’re a plumbing service provider who values reliability and high-quality workmanship but rarely conducts thorough inspections or updates your tools and techniques, you’re signaling a disconnect. This inconsistency will eventually damage the business. In contrast, when you regularly update your tools and techniques and personally ensure each job meets high standards, you demonstrate your values in action. This approach provides a solid framework for your team to address issues and guides the team effectively during the scaling process.

Intentionally Shaping Your Culture

Your Mission, Vision, and Core Values should shape every decision you make. If you are the owner of an electronics company dedicated to innovation and sustainability, every decision, from sourcing eco-friendly materials to adopting energy-efficient manufacturing processes, should align with these values. This dedication provides clarity in your decision-making, from the design of your office space and the way you conduct meetings, to who you hire and who you partner with. 

Just as Apple’s motto, “Think Different,” fueled their revolutionary innovations, your values should underpin every decision, ensuring alignment and integrity across your team. Ultimately, success lies in intentionally shaping your culture around these guiding principles, transforming them from mere words on a page into action, and most importantly, leading your team by example.

If you’re ready to tap into your Core Values and see the impact of alignment on your business, click here to preorder my new book Start the Work and see why “if your business isn’t growing, you’re not spending your time on the right things.”