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Some may disagree with me here, but I think it’s pretty easy to make people happy.

Hurdles may pop up once in a while, but on the whole most people will flourish with the right attitudes and support network around them. However, it’s one thing making individuals happy and a whole different kettle of fish getting a group of people to work together in harmony – this is where ‘company values’ come in.

My experience with corporate values has generally followed one of two paths: either cringeworthily embarrassing, or non-existent (or, worse, completely contradictory).

Either way, there’s always been a common denominator: the values were dictated from the top.

In my opinion, this approach was self-defeating because they were negating the very purpose of having values in the first place; to encourage unity and create purpose. People need to feel their opinion and views matter. When people feel like the missing piece to a puzzle rather than part of a strong collaborative effort they will ultimately look to take their skills elsewhere – the last thing any people-oriented business wants.

So what’s the best way to establish business values that really work and, more importantly, that your team believe in? The answer is simple: rather than expect individuals to live the values you tell them, focus your energy on bringing out values that live within them already.

Keep it simple.

At Response One for example, we started with a questionnaire asking our team and clients what made us unique. We then allowed that seed to grow into the vision and values that now lie at the heart of our business: Innovation, Diligence, Collaboration and Commitment. In fact, we’re so enamoured of these values, we now celebrate by holding an awards ceremony for them every year.

It’s a constant evolution; however our values have become an integral part of everything we do, and our vision continues to keep us focused because we all helped to shaped it.

The truth is we’re not all going to be the best of friends, and that’s OK. We’re all beautifully unique; we work and think in a variety ways which in itself creates value. However by listening you can learn, and by learning about your business from different perspectives you can lead everyone together as one.

By learning to trust in the judgment of our teams we become stronger, which in turn generates a loyal and dedicated collaboration for clients and customers alike.

So rather than looking to an insincere statement on how to thrive in the workplace - let’s look to each other.