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Values are the heart of a business. They encompass a whole series of purposeful and emotional principles that act as a “belief system” for the business.
A statement of those values, often called the “Values Statement” or “Core Beliefs” can come in different ways, but its importance lies in identifying the key things your business holds as important.
The Difference Between Value Statement, Mission Statement, And Vision Statement
If you’re wondering whether value statements are similar to mission statements and vision statements, you are not alone. However, there is a clear difference. If you don’t know this, it is easy to write a mission statement, for example, and assume that is your value statement. That would forfeit the whole point.
To know the difference, Process Street perfectly broke it down in an article they wrote, and here is the gist:
This is simply what your company sees as important. It highlights what your company prioritizes. This, of course, guides how it conducts itself. You can see this as the rulebook or set of guidelines that the company can look back upon whenever a decision or next line of action is about to be made.
This is more about the why of the company. It answers why the company is created in the first place, and what you are trying to achieve. This is more about the action. If the values statement is the rulebook, then the mission statement is the practical gameplay and covers all the short-term functions.
This represents the where. Where do you see the company in the future? What are the long-term goals your company aims to achieve? Vision statement covers the big picture, a grander goal beyond what the company is trying to achieve at the moment. It is the end goal of the mission statement in your industry or society at large.
How To Create A Solid Values Statement
Now that we know the difference between these terms, we know what shouldn’t be included in a values statement. However, that doesn’t answer what should be in it. Below are the things to keep in mind when creating your value statement.
There are companies that try to cram a lot of words into their value statement. While the motive might be noble, it defeats the purpose of memorability. If your team can’t recall it fast when trying to make a fast decision, what purpose does the value statement serve, then?
This doesn’t mean your value statement should be one word. Most likely, a word can’t fully justify what your company stands for. However, it also shouldn’t be too long. Erica Olsen of OnStrategy recommends 5 – 7 values as a sweet spot to work with. This should string into a long enough sentence that can be memorized.
The value statement of a company is not just a reflection of the founder’s values. For it to have the desired effect, it should be a set of values shared by the whole team. Creating a value statement for your team is a perfect opportunity to bond with the team and encourage them to be transparent.
Ideas should be welcomed, and people should be able to brainstorm on which ideas fit the most into the limited number of ideas you want to uphold. Of course, this doesn’t mean these are the only ideas you believe in. Just leave out the most commonly used and focus on yours.
If you find yourself struggling with ideas, simply take a look at your mission statement. Your mission statement leaves clues about what is important to you. Just ask why this mission is important, and ideas would start to flow.
The last thing you want is a value statement filled with jargons and empty words that they have to be broken down to those who are not “initiates.” That is not the spirit you are going for. Everyone should see your value statement, know what it means, and see how it fits into how you conduct business.
Remember that your value statement is the soul of your company. When challenges come up at work, as they sometimes do, the work you put into creating a relatable set of values can help bring you out of tough times and find the right footing to keep conquering the world.