Of Values and men.
It's stupid if you stop to think about it. But for some reason, most companies don't stop to think about it. They spend all this time and energy on their external storytelling and forget all about internal storytelling.
What is internal storytelling? It begins with understanding you have a group of evangelists at your fingertips. I mean, these guys are just begging you to let them tell the world your awesome story. They want to take part in your story. They think about your story five days a week (at least), and more than a few hours every day.
Yet you ignore them.
If it wasn't clear by now, I'm talking about your employees and co-workers. Those who come to work every day to take part in your story, who tell their friends and families your story, who took the god damn job because of your story! Those people. And what do you do with them?
Sure, you have your values on the wall, but they are for when guests arrive or when working with a third party provider. Internally, between us? Who needs these guidelines and values? It's a waste of time!
Well, guess what. Remember "The crave for narratives"? (if you don't, read it now and come back only after) If you don't provide them with a consistent story, they will make one up. We all do it when we lack a story. Why do I call it "a consistent story"? Simply because if you don't act like it, your words are meaningless.
If your values say "Simple", but all your internal processes are a nightmare; If your values say "precision", but you don't mind employees sending each other stuff that will not be acceptable externally; if your values say "transparent", but all the real meetings happen behind closed doors... You see where I'm getting at, right? All these examples tell the same story, "yeah, this is what we tell our clients, but it's not really who we are."
That's not to say you shouldn't have values. What you should do, instead, is let go of the buzzwords you copied from some other brand because they sounded right, and choose the words that mean something for you - regardless of what everyone else is using right now! If you can't find such words, congrats. You have no company values. Go back to square 1 and start over.
Your story and values should reflect on the way you live your life (at least professionally), on the way you conduct your business, on the way you all treat each other... When magic happens, and they do - great companies are born. When your employees and team members feel these are not just empty words, they will walk through fire for you. They will kick ass, and bring the best talents they know to join them. Why? Because you made them feel they are a part of something bigger than themselves.
So what will your values be? How will you commit to them? Answering this is even more important than telling your story externally. If you can't convince your employees with your story, why the fuck should someone else care for it?