A lot has been written of late regarding how a firm’s core values affect all aspects of the firm’s performance and relationships.
In fact a Google search on “How core values affect a company’s performance” results in over 5.6 million returns! One of the most telling is a recent research paper entitled “Evaluating Espoused Values: Does Articulating Values Pay Off?” ( Jonsen, Galunic, Weeks and Braga, 2015). In it, the researchers reviewed the values posted by Fortune 100 companies on their websites and then analyzed the performance of the companies based on the values posted. Some interesting performance implications were discovered based on the espousal of certain values, the number of values, and the change in the values over time. What it boils down to is this, there were 32 values listed fairly commonly across industries and performance levels; however, when firms actively tried to differentiate themselves through core values their performance was better. Also, companies that changed their values from time to time performed better. The conclusion is that those companies that are actively engaged with their core values and intentionally try to be different have better, more productive outcomes.
To borrow from Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, “People can get money anywhere; our product is a better experience”.
To that end, Solarity has created, tinkered with and recast our core values several times while keeping with the same theme and focus. If our business is truly about creating extraordinary member experiences then everything we do must start with the question, “Will this make for a better experience for our members?” Our core values are a key part of the context since, in theory; they are what guide our answers. With values that include such things as Appropriately Urgent, Accountable, Own Transparency and Simplicity we are totally focused on that goal.
As an example, we have implemented a new but effective member listening program that has instilled a new level of accountability across the organization. We receive feedback immediately, both when we are doing things right and when we are not. We then have the urgency to follow up with that member, openly and transparently conducting our interactions with them by discussing any shortcomings and being innovative and results-oriented in closing the loop and resolving any issues. When concluded, we thank the member for their feedback and provide prompt feedback to our team member that delivered that was involved in the experience; praise if good, coaching if needed.
It was Alexander Hamilton who said, “Those who stand for nothing will fall for anything.” Our core values are a clear message to our organization of what we stand for. While the core values may transform as the business environment changes, we will never stray from the belief that our survival and ability to thrive depends on providing extraordinary experience for our Members.