Contributed by Kym Huynh, an EO Melbourne member, EO Global Communications Committee member, and co-founder of WeTeachMe. Kym is fascinated by entrepreneurs and their journeys, so he asked EO members from various chapters to share their experiences. Read his earlier posts on what EO members wish non-entrepreneurs knew about entrepreneurs and how they define success.
In this third installment of Kym Huynh’s Leadership Toolkit series, Kym asked successful entrepreneurs from EO chapters around the world, “How important are values? How do you bring them alive in your business?” Here’s what they shared:
Never underestimate the power of simple words and simple ideas
When I took over my family business at age 25, my father’s advice to me were these three ideas: honesty, hard work and integrity. At the time, I considered them “not profound” due to their simplicity.
However, I find myself referring to and using them when I conduct staff interviews as they encapsulate the qualities we look for in team members. Those who don’t conform to these values aren’t a natural fit, and leave accordingly. These values are our guiding principles. I discovered that as time progressed, they become embodied in our mission statement.
— Ai-Ling Wong, EO Malaysia and founder of The Decorateur
Values help clarify ambiguous questions
I refer to values whenever I have a question in need of an answer, whether personal or business. Asking whether the matter-in-question is aligned with my values has more often than not answered questions that otherwise I was unable to answer with complete conviction.
When I first learned about the importance of values in the workplace, I thought that it was OK if a decision ticked three out of the five values boxes. I soon learned that if something does not tick all five boxes (assuming there are five values), then the answer is no— no matter how attractive it may seem or how many people try to convince me otherwise.
The importance of values is a lesson for which I will be forever grateful.
— Andrea Grisdale, EO Italy, founder and CEO at IC Bellagio