Your Values Should Mean More Than Words

Laurence McCahill
Jul 9 · 3 min read

“In the absence of values, all decisions go down to profits.”

Values are how you do what you do.

They drive the decisions you make.

Or at least they should.

I always tell those starting out, begin with your values, not your idea.

Your ideas will change, your values shouldn’t.

Values are timeless. They are the bedrock of a company and don’t change even when everything else does.

When we started in business it was only when we were going to make our first hire that we really started to question what it was we were looking for in the people that worked for us.

This led us to working on our values.

We came up with 10 that defined our beliefs and approach to work, and how we went about business.

After this exercise it became apparent that whatever business we ran, we’d do it our way.

It also freed us up to explore other ideas, eventually leading us to embark on our new mission in 2015.

We realised we created a business to make ourselves happy.

It was now time to help others do the same.

Fast forward

Last year after taking a few wrong turns, we revisited our values to get them down to the essence — core values that defined us and the work we do.

With co-founders it can take a little while, but it’s worthwhile work.

We ended up with 3 values that capture everything we’re about.

Yes they are just words, but backing these words up by what we mean by them — and crucially what we do with them, brings them to life. And makes them easy to remember.

As we tell founders – live them don’t laminate them. Values should be at the heart of your decision making, not sitting idle on a poster or in a drawer to be forgotten about.

Since getting clear on ours we’ve found a renewed focus and energy behind what we do. Here they are:

🎓 Learning

  • What we mean:
    We are on a never-ending journey following our curiosity and sharing what we learn with as many people as possible.
  • What we do:
    We’re always open to new ideas and experiences, and will share what we learn in a meaningful and accessible way.

🚣 Play

  • What we mean:
    We believe enjoying the work is as important as what we create. Good things start to happen when we’re in flow.
  • What we do:
    We only work with people and on projects that get us excited. If it feels like too much of an effort then it’s not for us.

👫 Friendship

  • What we mean:
    We want to celebrate the highs and navigate the lows with a group of supportive people that love us for who we are.
  • What we do:
    We find great people, keep them close and make them feel loved. We don’t waste time with timewasters.

The Happy Startup School is a community of purpose-driven entrepreneurs. Our annual Summercamp takes place this September in the UK – with learning, play and friendship at the heart. There’ll be talks, experiences and more than 20 workshops, including one from Pete Mosley, author of The Art of Shouting Quietly, who will help you find your deepest, most motivating values. Apply here for one of the last remaining spaces

The happy startup crew at Summercamp 2018

The Happy Startup School

Build a life and business rich with purpose

Laurence McCahill

Written by

Co-founder The Happy Startup School. Building a global community of heart-shaped entrepreneurs and leaders, one event at a time.

The Happy Startup School

Build a life and business rich with purpose

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