Tough Lessons

Sometimes, we don’t always get it right.  But you will easily correct mistakes with one simple rule.  Stay true to your core values!

Last month, Angie wrote a blog about our our core values.  Angie, Cameron and I spent over a month debating, changing, refining and making sure that they were the core values that really epitomized what StepStone was all about — not just to the staff, but to our agents and our clients as well.

Every business needs to spend time developing and sharing their core values.  Some recommended reading on the subject are Good To Great by Jim Collins and Traction by Gino Wickman.  Put these on your MUST READ list!

Companies that are able to grow and sustain growth revolve around good people.  But what defines someone as a good person to be on your team isn’t always the numbers or results.

Jim Collins equates this to the people you work with (or in your company) are people on a bus.  Good companies know where they are going and try to fit people who help it get there onto the bus.  But Great companies fill a bus with like-minded people and then let the people decide where the bus goes.

Well, we put the wrong person on our bus.  And that led to a tough decision, but one that was clear.  We hired someone who didn’t meet our core values.  While the numbers looked good, we made the decision to let him go because we are not trying to be a good company, but a great one.

When someone is not meeting your core values, it brings the mood, direction and overall productivity of your company down, even if that person is performing at a high level.

Before reading Good to Great or Traction, I believe we would have held onto our sales person and allowed him to bring overall productivity down because we would have believed in the numbers.  But by having our core values well-defined, thought-out and debated before the hiring process even began, the tough decision became easy.

Whenever someone on your team doesn’t meet your core values, you must let them go.  It’s not even really a choice.  And since we did, the mood and productivity of our office is again accelerating.  We will hire a new salesperson, then more staff, then more salespeople and even more staff as we continue to grow and grow.  But those that stay with us will always meet our core values.

We will not sacrifice our values for numbers.  But will load up the bus with great like-minded people and enjoy the ride!  Because that is how companies become great!

I encourage each and every one of you to not only real Good to Great and Traction, (and other books I could recommend), but spend some time defining what your core values are and how you want to grow a company around them.  You’ll be glad you spent so much time on it.  It will be the basis of future decisions and will allow you to ride the bus to success!

Photo credit: abraham.williams via / CC BY-SA