As the owner of an HVACR business, your day is a constant onslaught of decision making. From the moment you wake up in the morning to the moment your tired head finally hits the pillow at night, you’re making decisions on the go.
Some of those decisions are big ones: Should you enter a new market? Should you invest more money into a new marketing strategy? Should you hire someone? Should you fire someone? And, some of those decisions are small ones: Should you get your trucks washed? Should you check in with a vendor? Should you order lunch for the team today?
Those decisions all have a personal cost to you. Every decision you make, whether big or small, takes some mental bandwidth to think through and reach a conclusion. Unfortunately, the bigger the decision, the easier it is to second guess ourselves. You begin to question, am I making a good decision or a bad one?
Making decisions as a business owner is one of the most important things you’ll do, so it’s imperative that you step up and learn to make better decisions faster and have the confidence that those decisions will serve your company.
One surprising way that you can make better decisions is with something you may have in your company already but aren’t using as well as you could be: Your core values.
Do you have core values? Without looking at them or reading from a list, can you say what your core values are from memory? If you walked into your office or warehouse and asked an employee what the core values are, could they share them from memory?
Many companies don’t have core values at all — either because they don’t think they need them or because they feel that stating something so obvious would be a waste of time. And of the companies that do have them, many can’t even state their core values from memory. A lack of core values is the same as having core values but not knowing what they are — they simply won’t serve you.
However, if you have core values, and if you embed them into your company culture so that all employees know them by heart, you’ll start using core values the way they were intended to be used.
You see, core values aren’t just a nice-to-have list of things your company says it believes in. Rather, they are powerful and inspiring statements that can help you, and everyone else in your company, make better decisions.
Established core values that are known and embraced become the benchmark by which all decisions are made.
As an example, consider the core values of my service company, Gold Medal Service: safety first for our family and theirs; deliver wow-through service; demonstrate the highest level of integrity; and provide a great place to work. These are short, simple, memorable, and allow everyone in the company, from the owners all the way to the part time janitorial staff, to make better decisions.
When faced with a decision, the team asks, “Which outcomes support and enhance these core values?”
- Want to cut corners? The core values stop you and remind you that safety comes first.
- Not sure if you should let an employee go? The core values will guide you — does the person demonstrate the highest level of integrity and help make this company a great place to work?
- Not sure if you should do something for a customer? The core values will remind you to deliver wow-through service.
These are just three examples; however, you face hundreds or perhaps even thousands of big and little decisions each day in your company. By creating a few memorable core values, you make the decision-making process easier because these core values become the lens through which every decision is viewed.
If some of your choices in a decision do not comply, support, and enhance your core values, it’s easy to not choose those outcomes. And, if some of your choices in a decision do comply, support, and enhance your core values, then you know they are the right choices to make. And, once you have made a decision with the help of your core values, you don’t have to second guess yourself or revisit the decision because you know you’ve made the best decision possible for your company — one that complies with your most deeply-held values.
Here’s a simple process to create amazing core values:
- Collect core values from other companies. Gather together ones you like from companies in any industry — many post their core values on their websites.
- Pull together three to six core values at most — the ones you feel most strongly about, which reflect your company and culture and beliefs (now and in the future.) Don’t try to do too many more than three to six because people won’t remember more than that.
- Revise those core values so they are short and memorable and reflect your company.
- Share those core values with your company, post them everywhere, and train them to make all future decisions with them in mind.
If you own a company, then you’re making a lot of decisions every single day. You can make better, faster decisions by building core values into your company and making sure everyone knows about them, buys into them, and values them.
Publication date: 4/3/2017