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Set out your values

Now this really does sound like the sort of stuff that fancy, highly paid consultants peddle to giant blue chip corporations with deep pockets and shallow brains. However at Winning Pitch we have seen many examples of small companies where developing - and living - a set of Company Values really has made a difference. The reason that Values work is because the key to breakthrough performance is people - or rather their behaviours. Getting your staff to behave in certain ways - the ways you need them to behave - is actually very difficult. A well thought out set of Company Values, lived and communicated right across the whole company can be a very effective way of achieving the sort of behaviours you need in your business. Such Values;

Should come from the heart - In part they are your own personal philosophy as the owner - or owners - of the business

Should be specific to your sector and your company - They are what is essential if you are to accomplish the demanding journey that you have mapped out in your vision.

Now it's very easy to do this badly; to set Values that are too general, vague and clichèd. When trying to develop Company Values remember to avoid clichèd statements - they are old hat, avoid them like the plague, they should be thrown out of the window etc ... The best Company Values are - like the best company visions - very visual. People can actually picture the behaviours. At Winning Pitch we have a number of techniques to help a company's management team develop a set of Company Values that are highly visual and with which people can identify. Invariably however such Values need input from employees - they can very quickly identify specific examples of not living the Values - and hence examples of the sort of behaviours that should be contained in the company's Values Statements.

Such a set of Company Values also helps in recruitment - try asking potential new recruits for specific examples of how they have lived such Values in their previous jobs. The answers can be most revealing! One word of warning however, make absolutely sure that all your senior managers really do live the Values. Actions speak louder than words. Directors who help develop a set of Company Values and who then fail to live those Values themselves will do immense harm to your business. Don't let this happen!

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