In This Episode:
* The key values that coach Mara Glatzel has built her business on* How her human-first approach to business gives her a framework for caring for herself and for her clients* The belief systems she’s worked on unlearning to better
In This Episode:
* The key values that coach Mara Glatzel
has built her business on* How her human-first approach to business gives her a framework for caring for herself and for her clients* The belief systems she’s worked on unlearning to better fulfill her values* How being “well-resourced” gives her what she needs to respond when things get stressful
Years ago, I was the trainer at the Borders Books & Music I worked at.
It probably won’t surprise you that I loved this role. I poured over the training manuals. I thought about better systems for acclimating a new bookseller to a store with some 90,000 titles. I took seriously my job to communicate company policy, as well as the special privilege of working for a company with a mission and values like ours.
You can imagine me now putting air quotes around “special privilege.”
Understandably, I couldn’t remember the company’s mission and values now. So looked them up and found them on an old Blogspot blog from around the time I reciting them to my trainees in the fluorescent-lit breakroom.
Ready for this inspiring list? As of 2005, the values for Borders Group, Inc were: Leadership, Results orientation, Respect, People development, A positive workplace, and Customer service.
Yeah. Nothing innovative there. You could probably look in the training manual for most mass retailers and find something remarkably similar.
That’s the thing about company values, right?
They seem to be there to sound good, to tell trainees that the company cares about more than profit. We roll our eyes or tune out completely. In practice, these values mean nothing.
They mean nothing because they are rarely operationalized in any meaningful way. When Borders said they valued “respect,” how does that translate to the daily work of the average bookseller or warehouse employee? And who or what is doing the respecting? My fellow booksellers and I respected each other—for the most part, it was a great group of people to work with. But did I feel respected by corporate? Rarely.
That’s not to say that I don’t believe any large corporation is capable of operationalizing their values. Patagonia, for instance, has a set of values that is designed to impact its decisions as a company and the daily work of employees. Patagonia’s values are more like directives: build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to protect nature, not bound by convention.
Damn, that’s good.
I can imagine sitting in a meeting about product development, or warehouse operations, or marketing and actually using those directives to guide both strategic direction and execution.
And essentially, that’s what I mean when I talk about operationalizing your values.
It’s taking what you say is important to you & your company and turning it into material decisions, procedures, and ways of working. It’s finding ways to get creative with “the way things are done” so that the way you’re actually doing things reflects what matters to you.
I think this is of unique concern to small business owners because we have incredible potential for doing things differently—and so often just don’t.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about how much we take existing systems and ways of working for granted—and then find ways to operate within those conventions that make us feel lik...
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