Are you embracing Authentic Values: or choosing them like you would pick and mix?

4 Minutes

How often are values shoehorned into a website? You are ‘honest,’ ‘friendly,’ ‘trustworthy’ plucked from the meaningless values pick and mix.

If values are not lived and breathed, they are not really values but vacuous stickers that tick a box but don’t help you or your business.

So why are values important. What can they offer to your business. My answer is everything. Values need to form who you are, they are your personality and moral compass.

I listened to a speaker talk about her career in a large catering company. The interview application was a three-stage process. They wanted to make sure they got all the right people on the bus more importantly kept out the bad apples. The company would rather be understaffed than have a bad fit.

One of the questions that all employees were asked in the interview process from higher manager to the pot washer was ‘are you a natural smiler.’

Seems like a ridiculous question. But think about it, in catering you have difficult clients, and the work can be long and hard. Customers can complain and things sometimes don’t go right. Of course, you are going to want someone who is sunny.

Likewise, teamwork is important if you go into the kitchen with a pile of plates of course if the pot washer smiles back, you know you are all in it together.

Another question was ‘is the customer always right’ as the speaker said on her application form; ‘the customer is not always right but should always feel that they are.’

Would you really want to be greeted on reception by someone who can’t smile. I was in a pub this weekend you know the type where you feel like you are invading their sitting room. You stand at the bar ignored while they serve the person next to you and say- ‘Who’s next.’

It’s their job to know who’s next. Nobody minds waiting if we are told ‘sorry for the delay be with you in a minute.’ That loveless bored persona permeates the whole bar staff and having met the manager I can see why. Customers are an inconvenience not central to their business. The result a workplace where the work is a drudgery when it should be fun.

Now imagine if you are a natural smiler how would that change? If you put the customer central how would that change? Too many people say they offer a friendly service but it’s one thing talking about it another thing making sure that it is delivered.

Values are the backbone and beating heart of your organisation. When they are lived and breathed, they help customers choose you. They keep teams together and working well. They help with retention of staff and attracting new ones. The pub I’m talking about will have no loyalty form its staff. Natural smilers – what’s not to like.