12 months Blog

Corporate Values: The Secret Sauce of Success

Over the years I am sure that, like myself, business owners analyse success and failures – what do you do well as a business that clients find compelling to work with you, what do you need to stop doing and what can you improve.  No different than a 360-feedback performance session in many ways.

However, one thing that really stuck out recently when I did this, was that the clients which ROQ has typically had the most success with - as well as those where we have longevity in true partnership mode - are those which we essentially have the same DNA as.

In normal parlance, the typical approach to acquiring new clients is to find a pain point in an organisation where you have domain, technical or solution fit.  What is less common is how many organisations look for prospective clients who have similar corporate values?

Now, there are cynics, who believe values sit nicely on a webpage, or on a wall hidden behind the coffee machine, or only whispered in an induction.  They are not engendered into the company ethos, but merely there to tick a box.

At ROQ, we see our values very differently.

They represent who we are and where we have come from.  They came from a session we did nearly nine years ago (year one) with the team we had at the time – six being the whole company!  We asked the question of everyone; ‘what do we want the company to be?’ and ‘what do we want to demonstrate to our clients and anybody who may work for us in the future?’.  They were created by the very people who put 100% trust in us at the very beginning. They represent everything that people can achieve themselves but will have a direct or indirect positive effect on others.

Now, maybe I am revealing a 1000-year old secret sauce recipe here (and the royalties will follow!), but if we think about our friends, we usually have similar values – even if our behaviours can vary at times! We generally have “something” in common, but generally it’s the fact that we get on and where we disagree with a point, our approach to resolving it is shared and respected.

And that is no different in the world of business.  Organisations have very different approaches to dealing with the good things and the bad things that a project can throw up.  At times, when it’s tough, the conversations can become terse – frosty, almost – but ultimately the good wins out.  People resolve their differences, learn from it together and continue to work with a smile on their face.  Sound familiar?  Well, where this has happened, just check out their corporate values page, are there similarities?  Are you cut from the same cloth?  My guess is, almost certainly!

Now change that situation a little.  Think of a client where things haven’t gone well, the fingers have been pointed, the blame was always passed (regardless of the fairness of it) and there is a stalemate where nobody wants to move past every time the slightest thing happens.  You probably no longer work with them and reputations of both parties have been tarnished (fairly or unfairly).  Is the values page returning a “404 Error”?  Probably is my guess!

And to be totally clear, this is 100% reversible.  The client will have the same viewpoint on the supplier.

So, my call out is that when assessing a prospective client or a prospective supplier, then don’t underestimate their respective values.  If they seem a genuine company, who appear to live by their company values, and they are aligned with yours (and be pragmatic, we can all tinker with wording, so you’ll never get an exact match) then give that a LOT MORE weighting in your decision process. 

If working with like-minded individuals, who share a common goal meets your need, then the company values may just unlock the answer you are looking for.

Stephen Johnson

Director - ROQ


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