Business Planning 2 – Values and Behaviours

So last week we looked at developing a business’s purpose and vision. This week we will look at the values and behaviours; just like anything we want to manage, we have to design them. If we don’t, they will develop on their own and more than likely not be what we are hoping for. Design is always better than hope!

Firstly, this is not something one person alone should develop (unless you are a business of 1). The values need to be representative of a number of individual’s personal values. This representation should be from quite a broad group to ensure a good mix of backgrounds and experiences. So determining this team is important and the first step.

Conduct a brainstorming or similar process to create a list of values from the team. This list should be longer than you need so you can reduce through some sort of voting system. I like to make the first cull as a group to weed out the most irrelevant and follow this with a voting system until you are left with around 5 or so.

Next we make a poster and place it on the wall. No!! The next step is to    consult with a larger audience to refine the values and ensure they are a good fit with the business. This step is only important if you want to achieve buy-in from the people in your business.

No we can start looking at behaviours. Behaviours are the building blocks of values. If we have a value of Respect (which is a very common value), what behaviours do we want to see in our teams to nurture and achieve our value of Respect? Think of values as an outcome and behaviours as the steps or plan to achieve the outcome. Once again, these should be developed by the group and not by an individual.

But we’re still not finished; none of this will do any good unless we measure ourselves, our teams and the greater business and hold each other accountable (within the guidelines of our own behaviours).

Business Planning 1 – The Purpose and Vision

Unlike some, I always start the process with the purpose. Unfortunately, many people start off with writing a Vision and Mission Statement, and whilst these are good and important documents for a business, I really believe the most important is the Purpose Statement. This one keeps is simple and can be used right across the business.

Every team across a business should have it’s own purpose statement that ties it all together and drives development toward a single tangible goal or objective. I ask the simple question “Why do we exist?”

The right answer to this question will give you your purpose. Many may now be asking, “isn’t the purpose just a vision with a different name?” Kind of, but… Over the years, the traditional Vision and Mission statements have become more outwardly focused and therefore very marketing driven. This is ok, but internally we still need the simple statement and this is where the Purpose Statement comes in; a simple, honest internally focused statement of why we exist.

Now I said the vision has become more marketing driven and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing; for that reason the Vision Statement still has an important role. Creating your vision is the second step and should be an evolution of your purpose. The Vision Statement define your business’s core ideals that provide direction for decision making.

This may seem I’ve added a step, but I think you’ll find by defining your purpose first you will achieve a much more relevant and robust vision for your business.

Business Plan, What Business Plan

Most businesses have a business plan. Unfortunately many of the plans out there were written when the business started, put in a folder and never worked on again. I believe every business should be using its business plan as a living document.

In business, we all know that if you’re standing still you’re going backwards as your competitors continue to move ahead. To keep making the incremental improvements and growth required to succeed takes planning. Why start fresh every time when you have a business plan already on paper?

Over the next few weeks our blog is going to take you on the journey of designing your business. Whether you are just starting out, or have been in business for decades, these steps will bring you closer to your business goals.

We’ll be starting next week with the high level vision and purpose of a business, why do we exist? Join us then.