Values and behaviours

This is a post that has remained in an incomplete state for quite a while. I could have easily deleted it and moved on, but I like the overall message so I thought it would be better to stop waiting for the right moment and just post it…

Like many companies one of the things we did at Hoop was to codify our values and try to make them an integral part of how the company operated. The - rimary tools to help achieve this were a weekly one to one, and a quarterly period of feedback where we asked everyone to reflect on their work and the company’s work as a whole.

Overall I think we did a decent job of building our culture, and in the exit interviews that I was a part of, culture was one part of working at Hoop that people liked the most.

Despite this there was still room for the misinterpretation of our values and we could have done a better job of helping everyone understand the output we expected from the values we laid out.

Listing the behaviours is a great way to do this. Behaviours help people understand how they can apply the value in practical terms, and thus help build a common understanding fo what the value actually means.

Take for example our value that “good communication requires good listeners” this would be supported nicely by the behaviour:

“You spot people in meetings who are struggling to voice their opinion and create space for them to do so.”

It’s much easier to understand some of the underlying motivation for this value when exemplified in this way. And, what’s more, there is no real limit to how many behaviours can be listed. You can encourage members of your team to share more behaviours they have seen or would like to see, and if they align, add them to the list. If they don’t, you get the opportunity to discuss why they don’t, and this too deepens everyone’s understanding of the value.

Setting out your values is a really important part of creating well rounded company, but it’s articulating the behaviours that they engender that will cause them to stick. This was an opportunity we missed at Hoop, but one I will definitely be taking to future companies.

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My name is Dan, I'm a product manager and entrepreneur living and working in London. Check out my blog archive or read more about me.