Getting to the core – core values that is.
Earlier this year, our company began the revealing process of looking at our culture to better understand who we are and what kinds of things we stand for. Not that we didn’t have a certain way of doing things, but more so because we’d never taken the time to analyze or articulate them in ways that could benefit not only our staff, but all those we work with.
For most companies, the process of defining your core values is typically one of the first things done when an organization is starting-up, going through management changes or undergoing a repositioning effort. And seeing as our agency is coming up on our 30-year anniversary, we decided that it was finally time to let everyone – from staff and vendors to clients and even our own families – know exactly what AFFIRM is all about.
For anyone who’s gone through this process, you know that there’s a ton of information available to help guide you and in my case, I’ve been fortunate to have worked for a number of organizations including Kohl’s that have done a great job of living their core values through their mission.
In our case, we began by treating ourselves as if we were a client and conducted some research involving both internal and client surveys. This included a range of questions to gauge current attitudes and perceptions about how we operate and what makes us different. And while it told us a lot about what we already knew, it also helped reveal areas that we were surprised to learn. Overall however, the responses were extremely favorable when it came to things like being responsive and reliable, in addition to our willingness to do whatever it takes. Even if that means taking care of a client request on a weekend or playing the part of an extra in a video shoot!
After analyzing the results of the surveys, we started to see common responses to questions which eventually lead to our defining the agency’s key attributes AND our core values. Then, to give them added strength, we included an adjective to each value to help describe how, or the degree to which we act. In our minds, it makes them more meaningful and helps keep them top-of-mind.
We even decided to create a weekly award for recognizing a Staples staffer for exemplifying one of our core values in the face of daily challenges. The Force Award is an authentic Star Wars Light Saber replica, complete with light and sound effects, and it’s now on display and making the rounds throughout the offices at Staples Marketing.
Next time, I’ll dig deeper into our core purpose and mission.