Throughout history, civilizations have had various ways to navigate and guide where it is they wanted to go. History tells us we have used the stars, sunstones, telescopes, magnetic compasses, sextants, and more recently the global positioning system.
Regardless of the tool in use, every ship is constantly attempting to determine the same questions. Where have we been? Where are we now? Where will we go next? Furthermore, every voyage serves a purpose. Why are we setting sail? Who do we need on board? Knowing the answers to these questions is not only imperative to the success of any voyage, but a vital factor of the crew on board. Without the answers we would simply cast off and be lost at sea without any idea of who embarked.
I love this analogy because it relates to our businesses. In order for us to recruit the right people, seek the right clients, and define what success looks like, we must know the answer to these same questions.
History has proven that everyone has a mechanism they follow in order to head in the right direction. For Headway, our navigational instrument comes from the EOS system and is called the vision traction organizer (V/TO).
The V/TO tracks the following:
- Core Values
- Core Focus
- 10 Year Target (Core Target)
- Marketing Strategy
- 3-Year Picture
- 1-Year Plan
- Quarterly Goals
- Annual Goals
This document distills down our business to a couple sheets of paper that answers our most crucial questions. The V/TO provides the answers everyone needs in order to understand our vision, realize what we need to focus on in order to gain traction, and begin to understand what we believe in. Our beliefs for Headway shine through the core focus and what we’ll be focusing on within this post, our core values.
Operationalizing our values helps inform the clients we seek, who we need on board, and sometimes who we don’t need on board. It identifies who we are to anyone who wants to work with us. Building a team or joining a team is always a 2-way relationship. Just as important as it is for us to understand who a new client or team member is, they need to also understand who we are.
When our shared understanding aligns, we begin to form the foundation of a high performing team. Our values act as this lens for us because they define who we strive to be. The V/TO couldn’t possibly list every value we believe in so it’s important to understand the difference between a “permission to play” value and a “core” value.
Permission to play values are qualities like trust and honesty. A permission to play value is an absolute necessity to come on board. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to work together.
Core values go beyond that to form traits that we strive to exude in everything we do. Traits that require us to be intentional. These help define what we stand for and allow for 2-way alignment. Nobody wants to work with or join a company where they don’t know what it is that the company believes in.
Everyone has been in a conference room where a bunch of posters are on the walls with words like excellence or passion. These posters usually show one of the world wonders or a photo of something meant to inspire and motivate. We want our core values to be more than that. We want them to be traits we all strive to achieve on a daily basis in everything that we do. None of us are perfect and we won’t get all of these right every time, but when we truly believe in them, we’ll begin to make a lasting impact.
Defining the values for Headway was no small feat and something that is difficult to do given the impact values have on who we work with, but in the end, we wanted a set of core values that define what we wanted our team to be known for. The following 5 core values are just that.
Everyone is heard
Everyone is a servant leader
Our compass is set to what works and moves us forward collectively. Great ideas and initiatives can come from anywhere, so everyone's voice is heard.
The concept of servant leadership is something that has stuck with us for some time. We don’t lead within Headway out front, but alongside. It’s this philosophy that allows everyone to feel like their voice is heard and moves the needle for our team in a collective way where everyone is bought into the outcome.
To make progress, we must establish an insatiable appetite for increased knowledge. We grow when our people remain teachable and we embrace our role to continually share our collective knowledge.
Within Headway, a growth mindset is a must. Consulting for clients in varying markets while forming various teams requires that we remain teachable and have the ability to teach others.
Deliver value within given constraints & context
Through intentional practice, experience, and a comprehensive understanding of each project's constraints our craft expands empowering us to make the most valuable decisions.
Our clients trust us with their time, their resources, and their goals. Constantly focusing on our craft allows us to be good stewards with what we are trusted with and helps inform the decisions we make in their best interest.
We value people, their perspectives, and the problems we can help them overcome. You are not your work, but you bring something unique and powerful to it.
This value impacts our team health, our interactions with clients, and our thoughts towards their target audience. We solve problems for our clients, but more importantly their users.
If you see something broken, fix it
Ask where you can help
Moving ourselves, our mission, and our clients forward is important. If something is broken, take ownership and see that a better solution gets put in place. Look for more opportunities to create value and pitch in.
We want every member of our team to be empowered to take initiative and add value. Being self-motivated can only be achieved when an environment is created that empowers us individually.
These values inform some of our most critical decisions and I hope by sharing them it helps you not only understand how we think at Headway but more importantly, why.
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