Many businesses currently have access to support to scale up through new investments. However, what is often lacking is the support for professional services who want to scale up sustainably.
In this article, we define what a purpose, vision and set of values are. We will then discuss how this can help businesses going forward.
Purpose, Vision and Values
These phrases are trendy and are commonly used, however, it seems not many actually understand their true meaning. So, what do they mean?
Purpose – The purpose is the reason for the existence of the business (beyond just making money). This is often linked to the value which a business offers to its’ customers or clients through its products and services. Typically, the purpose will remain continuous and consistent for the entire lifetime of the business.
Vision – The vision is an audacious, long-term goal of what the business is aiming to achieve. This typically involves a timeframe of 10 years or more. The vision can sometimes change slightly depending on the circumstances.
Values – The values define the key themes of each business. Typically, these are a reflection of the behaviour and personality of the business.
The Benefits of Purpose, Vision and Values
There are many benefits to businesses having a clearly defined purpose, vision and set of values. Organisations will usually have a rough idea of where they want to go, but those ideas are often not clear enough. Generally, this means there will be people in the business who do not know where they are heading. This can become a significant barrier to achieving optimal performance and ultimately success.
It is important that businesses develop a healthy work culture. The culture is how the business is run, what it believes in, and how it serves clients or customers. Culture is all about ensuring everyone knows what the business stands for, and understanding what behaviours are required – what is acceptable and unacceptable. Defining the purpose, vision and values can prove instrumental to developing a great culture.
Having a clearly defined purpose means that everyone will understand the reason behind the existence of the business. For employees, it is a motivation that can push them to be productive – it is a lot more exciting to wake up each day knowing why you do what you do! Having a purpose is emotionally engaging for everyone, and as a result, there are higher levels of productivity and generally lower levels of absence rates. Furthermore, having a purpose can be helpful for the business management in making decisions. For example, if an opportunity comes their way but does not align with their purpose, it becomes an easy decision to make – they shouldn’t do it!
Having a clear vision can also prove to be extremely useful. As mentioned, most businesses will already have an idea of where they would like to be 10 years from now, however, they can often miss as this a goal way into the future. Clearly defining a vision and planning as early as now can help tremendously for businesses to stay on track. Whenever businesses are thrown off course, a clear vision will remind them of what they are aiming for and push them back onto the right track much faster.
Lastly, defining a set of core values can help align everyone with the behaviours expected from them. The core values show the personality of businesses – knowing these can remind employees what the business stands for, as well as the values they should be committed to. It can also help the management team to make the right decisions based on what is most important for the business – these would be highlighted by the core values of the business.
Is it Necessary to Implement Purpose, Vision and Values?
Businesses may decide to forego the process of developing a purpose, vision and set of values altogether. Some businesses may find them unnecessary and be completely fine without them!
While this may be the case for some, it is difficult to ignore the facts. Generally, businesses with a strong and powerful culture will often become a lot more valuable than those without. This is because culture is the key foundation for growth. Companies with great cultures are able to attract and retain the best talent in the market. This also tends to translate to higher productivity and lower absence rates!
However, it is absolutely crucial that this is done in a proper manner. It should never be an option to implement a purpose, vision and set of values in a half-hearted manner – either commit to it or not at all!
Tips for businesses working remotely
Many businesses have been forced to give up the traditional face-to-face delivery of work largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While this unprecedented change has made a huge impact in the work culture of many, there are still ways to help maintain a heathy and strong culture:
- Over-communicate. It is often tempting to do the bare minimum required when communicating with other colleagues. Going above and beyond the minimum required communication is a good way to maintain that healthy work culture. It is vital to continue to show that level of support and concern for others, especially when working remotely.
- Ensure there are informal interactions. It can be easy to get caught up with just the topic of work. However, we are not robots, and we too need our time to de-stress once in a while. Having occasional informal interactions (which are not work-related) can be an effective way to maintain a close relationship between colleagues. If possible, this should be done over platforms other than Zoom or Microsoft Teams – as these are often commonly associated with work.
- Make the most of team gatherings in person. There may be rare occasions that the team will be able to gather for meetings and events. It is essential that the benefits of these occasions are maximised. Leaders should think about how they can make these gatherings an enjoyable and refreshing experience for everyone – strengthening the bonds between colleagues and giving renewed motivation to take back home.
Valuing human as well as technological interactions
As the world continues to develop, it becomes increasingly more important that SME businesses are good at embedding their purpose, vision and values. The work force is a very valuable asset within each business – they should be taken care of so that they can become more creative and productive. Businesses should also commit to creating great experiences for their customers and clients – this will help ensure their success for the time to come.
Alongside this, it is critical that businesses learn to embrace and integrate technology. Technology continues to evolve and will continue to do so for a long time to come. Businesses must be ready to innovate and adapt, as doing things the same way will simply not work in the long run.
Thus, to be successful, SME businesses are advised to value human interactions – both between colleagues and also with customers – whilst being underpinned by the evolving technology.
With thanks to Rebecca Bonnington, CEO – Tricres.