Are you aiming for honesty, excellence, and service? Get the team in a car, drive to a client where something went wrong with your product, and sing a song about how sorry you are while handing over a big bouquet of flowers. Should your work be focused on creativity, discipline, and orderliness? Get your team to make a perfectly executed work of art out of sticky notes, carefully measured out and modeled on the computer. They key is not only to promise to keep these values in mind, but also to do something to prove that these values matter.
At the end of the day, you just ask yourself, ‘How did our vision and values influence decisions I made today?’ If they did not, then they are pretty much BS.
I am preparing the launch of a business called Happy Melly, together with Maarten Volders and Vasco Duarte. As our core values we have defined freedom, transparency, and holism (originally described as system thinking). And our purpose is the pursuit of happiness in work. Do I have a story to express those values? I certainly do!
One month ago I wrote the post Why I Won’t Take Your Call. In that post I explained in an honest and transparent way that I prefer emails over phone calls because I don’t aim for local optimization (of conversations). Instead I take a more holistic long-term view of the job of being a writer, and daily phone calls simply don’t fit the picture. I claim the freedom to place such constraints on my communication with people, not because I’m an autist (though maybe I am), but because I claim a right to happiness as a worker.
I didn’t realize it at the time of writing, but this story perfectly illustrates the values and purpose of our Happy Melly business, at least from my point of view. (And I’m sure Vasco and Maarten can produce similar examples, without the autism bit.)