It’s that time of year where entrepreneurs reflect on successes and failures of the past year. As you think about setting new goals for 2017, Psychologist Dr. Melanie Newton encourages entrepreneurs to set goals that are aligned with company values.
“Often we'll talk about having a mission for the business, or an ethos, or talk about culture and branding but very rarely do we actually talk about the values that you want to instil and apply as a company,” says Newton. When goals are aligned with values, adds Newton, they’re more likely to stick and evolve throughout the year. Here’s how you can get started with three simple questions:
How do you want to be known?
Dr. Newton best describes this question as a company eulogy. How do you want to be known by your internal and external stakeholders, and how would they describe you to their friends, families, investors, media, and potential employees? This question is linked to your main value proposition.
What are you delivering as a company to your customers? How do your products help improve or enhance their lives or businesses? Come up with two to three conversational situations to set goals. Some of the most successful and innovative companies in the world have conversations like this happening all of the time with lines like, “Man, Nike is dominating sneaker innovation; have you seen their new self-lacing sneakers?” Or, while someone in your family is trying to figure out how to change the smoke detector batteries, someone will commonly blurt, “Just Google it. It’ll save so much time and hassle.”
How do you want to engage and connect with your clients or customers?
When first starting out as a company it’s easy to think that you have to be on every social media channel. But, if you could pick one to two ways to communicate with your customers, what would they be?
Many entrepreneurs have shared the importance of meeting customers face-to-face to get feedback that help shapes business direction or new product development. Customer interviews help answer the question, what can we stop doing, and what could we be doing more of? Uber is an example of a company that uses email newsletters regularly to communicate new features, service disruptions, or refunds for each user. Think about where your customers are already interacting and why and how often you’ll need to communicate.
How do you want any employees to engage with your company?
Your employees are important ambassadors for your company, and how they engage with your company is key to their happiness, dedication, and growth as an employee. What values do you want to instill from an employee’s first day to last day with the company, and more specifically, how will you help instill those values through activities, office setup, and work flows?
Former Juniper Networks Vice President of Human Resources Steven Rice has openly shared what his company learned about 1-to-1 employee communication during a massive HR overhaul. Juniper increased employee engagement by getting honest and consistent feedback, rather than waiting on annual performance reviews. Do whatever you can to think from your employee’s perspective to develop goals under this final question.
Be Flexible With Your Goals
It’s important to be flexible with your goals throughout your year. Dr. Newton suggests regularly checking in with your clients and employees to learn how they feel the company is living up to its values. She stresses, “don’t wait until the end of the year to find out how you’re doing as a business.”
How do you set goals for your business every year? Share your insights with us below.