In my experience of working with MDs of their own companies over the last 14 years it doesn’t take very long before they start talking about why they set up their business, what is important to them in running the business and keeping it solvent/profitable, the differences that exist between them and other Directors and shareholders or conversations that start about a manager who just doesn’t get it.
There are many insightful stories and anecdotes. Passions and frustrations run high in equal measure.
So in a very conversational way, the values of the MD become very clear i.e. what really matters to them. With a bit of gentle probing, it doesn’t take a lot to get an MD to define the behaviours that enable success in their business. ‘If only people did this, we would be even more productive.’
When the MD set up the business, working with a small team, direction, focus, consistent behaviour was all a lot easier because everyone could see what was happening, everyone was involved in decisions and incompatibility was pretty self-evident to the MD such that things could be sorted out quickly following the unwritten rules of the game.
As a company grows, perhaps there are more Directors/shareholders, or managers hired to do more specific roles and lead teams. Different pressures, perspectives and personalities can play havoc with individuals pulling together. ‘So long as l do my job and make money my boss/the boss should be happy.’
It is particularly at this stage that clear values and behaviours can help the MD align people around what the key success factors are for the business, and how people need to behave in order to deliver success.
Cynics say that values are typically motherhood and apple pie statements. Out of context they might be. They can however be grounded by clarifying the behaviours required to deliver success.
Clarification is only the start point. Behaviours then need to be operationalised into recruitment, performance management, promotion and reward processes and training decisions. 1-1 conversations and meetings need to reflect these behaviours. People need to be able to call out breaches in desired behaviours without fear of recrimination.
So to values-led MD owners, if you want a conversation on how to align people around the company’s values and how clearly defined behaviours can boost growth in your business, then contact firstname.lastname@example.org
This is one of the areas we cover in our TwentyTwenty Insight business review process, where we provide a snapshot of the health of your business with suggestions on what you might do next in terms of growing your business. If this is of interest then again please contact email@example.com