Using Values to Simplify Management: A ‘How to Guide’ for Social Entrepreneurs

How we GSD and still wake up excited to come to work every day!

If you’re familiar with Zappos, you’ve probably heard of the company’s core values. They’re plastered on the walls and committed to employees’ memories—and ultimately, they set the expectations for every Zappos worker. So far, it seems to be working!

Values have a similar role for us — they matter. They bring together our team. Reinforce our passions. Help us make decisions. Hold us accountable to higher standards. And help us work more effectively towards our ultimate goals — impacting the world’s most pressing social & environmental challenges through bridging companies, communities and consumers.

And finally? We love adventure, so of course many of our values relate back to it.

Our values up on our office wall with pictures from our past projects — keeping us inspired and grounded!

Our Gone Adventurin’ values:

1. Adventurous Spirit.

Sometimes, sh*t happens when you’re on an adventure, but we aim to always make the best out of any situation, keep things fun and stay true to ourselves. Authenticity, on so many levels, is so utterly important.

Adventure can also be used in a business context — as we strive tocontinuously evolve and remain relevant — it’s all about innovation, trying new things and dreaming beyond what’s possible today to what will be possible tomorrow!

2. Trust & Teamwork

Strong Leadership — and not just for the CEO. Just like on an epic cycling adventure across Sri Lanka, everyone leads within their responsibilities.

Getting the perfect shot in the rice paddies of Vietnam. During a project for Unilever — all about inspiring water saving in Vietnam.

If we’re going to get to the top of the mountain or achieve our #SocEnt (Social Enterprise) goals, we need to be honest with each other without taking anything personally. Business focus is key.

It’s also about maintaining our natural strong work ethics internally. We know and need to trust that everyone in the team is doing their best!

3. Communication

“We’re heading to the north of Sri Lanka through some really hilly & rough terrain. We’ll be meeting the team from Practical Action at about 3pm — it’s a 100km ride — so we’re leaving at 5am. See you packed up & ready then”.

Just like any adventure, things in business go awry when communication doesn’t work! It’s about being on time, keeping your word and bringing clarity & common understanding i.e. making sure everyone is on the same page.

If and when things go wrong, communication becomes even more important. Blunt honesty and upfront responsibility makes decisions faster & teamwork more efficient — it’s all about empathy & compassion!

Figuring out the route to tackle poverty in Sri Lanka!

4. Create positive, inspiring impact

Our passions are in the communities, starting small and on the ground. We will continue to stay local and practical. We will drive to create measurable impact.

We love projects we can return too — year after year — and follow the progress of the communities we’ve touched & continue to work with.

We will always look to create on-going, systemic impact!

5. Going above and beyond

Film Screening & Fundraising event in Singapore. Going beyond expectations and raising $40,000 in 1 night to tackle Poverty in Sri Lanka

Just like when we’re passionate about our sport or an adventure, we always strive to go above and beyond — be that little bit better every day — and over time be brilliant!

To do this, product quality comes first. We must always surprise and delight our clients — we know our SocEnt flourishes or dies because of our relationships. Quality of what we deliver at the end of the day is crucial for both our corporate clients and the communities to create real, lasting impact.

Feel free to check out our above values on slideshare.

Creating YOUR Company Values:

Values are going to look different for every team and company, depending on your personalities, customers, goals and mission. So how do you figure out what you should live and work by?

Here’s a few steps we recommend:

  1. Brainstorm about what’s important to you & your team — let your ideas flow freely.
  2. Consolidate & Define — try to be explicit and write the values down in memorable phrases. Makes them more relatable & reinforces what is unique.
  3. Frame your values according to your team’s culture — maybe you prefer them to be simple, clear, and easy to remember—and so, maybe a set of one-word values work best for you. Or, maybe you’d prefer to inject humor into your company standards. It all depends on what your and your team respond to best!
  4. Evaluate your values as a complete set — having a set of values only works if they’re ideas that you are going to push you and your team to excellence — so make sure that what you’ve outlined will really work for you.

Enjoy the adventure!

Article by Laura Allen — CEO and Co-Founder, Gone Adventurin’

Laura Allen

Firm believer that companies can unlock great business opportunities in tackling social and environmental challenges in their communities. Outside of the world of social business, Laura is an avid cyclist and rock-climber, and is passionate about topics such as the FutureOfFood (she co-founded a community farm in Singapore) and mindfulness.

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