Is your business infectious?

On a weekend, my fiancée and I like to get out into the Yorkshire countryside to spend some relaxing time together, take in some fresh air and recharge the batteries. On a recent trip, we set off early without breakfast and took a new route.

Feeling hungry as we approached Haworth, one of our favourite villages, we drove past Keelham Farm Shop, a place that was so busy the cars were overflowing from the car park onto the roadside and there were queues of people into each of the buildings.

We turned around to find out what all the fuss was about.  It was quickly clear that this is a thriving business and I spotted a clue as to why in the window. It was a job advert.

The job advert read:

“We are looking for exceptional individuals who are passionate about food and who are used to working in a busy customer facing environment. Previous experience would be great but this is not essential because our focus is on finding really passionate foodies who care about great service, who want to learn more, inspire others and who are not afraid of hard work. The most important stuff is positivity, personality and the ability to make people smile.”

Wow, what a cracking example of a business recruiting based on values. But what’s the link between that job advert and the success of the farm shop?

On further investigation, Keelham Farm Shop is a business which is doing everything to live its values. They are on the website on the jobs section

They are explained in the first page on the website menu – the Keelham Way – and there’s no doubt that if they are setting out their stall, so to speak, so clearly, the people who work for them will embody those values too.

Let me ask you the following:

  • Where’s the value for you in hiring based on your values?
  • What is the full benefit and what is the impact if you don’t?
  • How do you understand what your true values are?

Strong values give you and your people a cause to line up behind. They breed an infectious enthusiasm for a business which, if you get it right, becomes irresistible for customers. Think cult brands like Innocent, Ben & Jerry’s and Apple. And if you have strong values they support a strong brand and strong sales, giving you an even healthier bottom line.

You can’t just have values in picture frames on the wall as I have seen. They are not simply a list of character traits you want to be known for. You have to live your values, day in, day out regardless of workload, pressure or anything else and that’s where the farm shop is getting it so right. You can recruit the most qualified person out there, but if they don’t share your values they will quickly become the rotten apple which spoils the whole crop (see my blogs on brilliant jerks  or why the gifted Kevin Pietersen didn’t get picked for England again for more on this)

Your values

Are you confident you know your values and that they are translated into your business? Are your team – whether that’s in-house or trusted external partners – aware of and helping you live your values?

If you and your team live and breathe your values consistently, then they will translate in attitudes and behaviours that staff, customers, partners and prospective employees see. A wise man said to me recently: “You can copy a business idea in seven hours, but it can take seven years to replicate a culture.”

Developing a dream team is one of the essential building blocks to running a successful business. If you are working too many hours or are frustrated about any element of your team, it’s time to take action.

Access our tool here to get started: